What is Chronic Pain?
We all experience pain from time to time. However, Chronic pain is significantly different from conventional everyday pain. Under normal circumstances, the pain that you experience dissipates once your body has healed. Chronic pain, however, is any pain that lasts over 3 months and lingers on well after your body has already healed from the injury. Chronic Pain varies in the severity of the pain, ranging from mild to severe.
Why does Chronic Pain happen?
When you sustain an injury, your body’s nervous system collects information from the site of the injury and sends electrical signals first to your spinal cord and then to your brain. Your brain then after an analysis of this sensory information sends out a message that lets your body know that something is wrong. The body then works hard to heal the injury.
Normally, once the injury is resolved, the pain also dissipates and the neurons stop firing. However, with Chronic pain, the neurons continue firing, thus informing your brain that you are still in pain when you really shouldn’t be. Once the chronic pain cycle in your brain is established, then your brain starts to also attach emotional meaning to the experience of being in pain. In fact, the person suffering from chronic pain starts to feel high levels of distress because of anticipation of being in pain and the suffering no longer is just physical, but also highly psychological/emotional.
The reverse is also true. How many times have you experienced more pain because of anxiety or low/irritable mood? This is the reason why individuals suffering from chronic pain, also suffer from co-morbid depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges. Living with chronic pain results in significant impairments to regular everyday functioning.
Functional difficulties include:
Inability to attend school or work on homework as a result of impairments from the pain
Inability to work or significant impairments or limitations in employment opportunities
Inability to socialize or engage with others due to lingering pain or difficulties
Difficulty leaving the home due to ongoing pain and suffering
Mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety
Common symptoms of Chronic Pain:
How we can help?
Despite the difficulties for individuals with Chronic Pain, there are solutions. The most effective treatments in reducing and eliminating Chronic Pain are through Biofeedback (reducing the hypersensitivity of the nervous system to the effects of pain), Neurofeedback (changing the interpretation of pain signals), Hypnotherapy (Using the imagination to decrease the significance associated with pain) and finally Microcurrent Therapy (it helps to change the pain signals in the peripheral nervous system).