At some point in our lives, we all have experienced various types of aches and pains. Whether it’s a headache, a broken arm, or an upset stomach, different conditions can cause varying levels of pain.
But imagine having to live with pain 24/7. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many people around the world. According to Pain Doctor, nearly 20% of the global population lives with chronic pain. Often, it’s so intense or persistent that the individual cannot work or live a normal life.
If you want to know more about the impact of chronic pain on the quality of life, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll assess the emotional and physical impacts of chronic pain as well as explore a few techniques to help manage the condition.
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s dive right in.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is persistent and excruciating pain that continues for more than 12 weeks, even after receiving medical treatment or medication. Chronic pain can start after an illness or injury, which the patient may recover from, but the pain remains. Or it may be the result of a current medical condition, such as cancer or arthritis.
Chronic pain is a complex and unpleasant condition that can leave a person struggling to complete daily tasks. And it can take an immense toll on their overall well-being. Let’s take a closer look at how chronic pain can impact the quality of your life.
Ways Chronic Pain Affects the Quality of Life
1. Decreases Mobility
Movement can significantly improve the physical functioning and strength of the body. However, chronic pain can negatively affect mobility.
When a person experiences pain, they may not be able to move as easily. In fact, it can get more difficult to sit, stand, or complete simple tasks on their own.
2. Diminishes Cognitive Function
Chronic pain can make it hard to concentrate. So an untreated condition can impact a person’s thoughts, reasoning, memory, attention, and focus. The effects of all this can influence their capabilities at work, possibly leaving them in a state where they are less productive or unable to make a decision.
3. Reduces Self Esteem
Chronic pain can sometimes become so debilitating that a person cannot perform activities independently or work like they used to. This can take a serious toll on their confidence and self-esteem. Studies show that individuals with chronic pains often suffer from deteriorating mental health, which can contribute to other conditions such as depression and anxiety.
4. Causes Insomnia
Living with chronic pain can get exasperating, especially if it prevents a person from getting a good night’s rest. But even those who are lucky enough to doze off may experience non-restorative sleep. That is, they don’t feel refreshed the next day, even after sleeping.
Due to this disrupted sleep routine, people with chronic pain do not have a regular sleeping cycle. They may wake up late, feel lethargic throughout the day, and sleep at odd hours, thus becoming less productive.
5. Alters Moods
Diminished functioning and loss of independence can be embarrassing and frustrating. But besides this, people who have to bear tremendous amounts of constant pain are understandably frustrated with their condition, often building up resentment and anger. This often causes them to have a low fuse and become easily triggered.
6. Exhibit Deconditioning Behavior
People with chronic pain can be overwhelmed with thoughts that their condition could worsen at any moment. For this reason, they try to protect the area from further discomfort by avoiding certain activities (known as deconditioning). However, this subconscious protection of the painful area causes the muscles to weaken because they aren’t used properly.
Unfortunately, this behavior also puts added stress on other muscles, joints, and nerves of the body. As a result, movements are less coordinated, making it more difficult for the person to move.
7. Puts a Damper on Relationships
Chronic pain makes it extremely difficult for people to complete household chores, take care of family members (let alone themselves), or participate in social activities.
But what can really put a strain on relationships is when others are not compassionate towards your condition or do not understand the severity of the pain you have to endure every day.
Ways to Manage Chronic Pain
It’s clear chronic pain can significantly impact the quality of your life. But that doesn’t mean there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, there are several ways you can control or reduce the intensity of the pain and live a better life. Let’s look at some of them.
Doctors often prescribe medicines to treat chronic pain. Common drugs include acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, antidepressants, anti-seizure medicines, etc. However, long-term use of chronic pain medication can cause side effects detrimental to your health.
So it’s not surprising healthcare providers are considering another drug with fewer side effects – medical marijuana. Some CBD drugs have already been approved, while others are currently undergoing further testing. If you plan on trying CBD to manage chronic pain, consult your doctor first. Once you get a green signal, make sure to use high-quality solutions like the CBD-infused products by Oasis Cosmetics so that you know that you are relying on safe options to treat your pain.
2. Change Your Lifestyle
Chronic pain is going to change life as you know it. So approach the condition head-on and learn to minimize the pain as much as possible. Start by incorporating small changes into your lifestyle according to your responsibilities.
Common aspects you need to focus on include:
- Reducing stress
- Relaxation and meditation techniques
- Regular low-intensity workouts
- Consuming a nutritious diet
There is no shame if you need help and ask for it. Therapists can teach you how to manage your pain and calm your mind. For instance, they can help you learn different ways to complete everyday tasks without injuring yourself or aggravating the pain. Moreover, they can offer tips on mindful thinking to help you cope with your condition with a positive outlook.
Over to You
Dealing with chronic pain can be exhausting. But one of the best things you can do is think positively about your condition. The more you focus on the pain, the more intense it will feel. So keeping your mind occupied with other things can alter the way you perceive your pain.
Using the tips mentioned above, find ways to manage your chronic pain. Above all, don’t allow it to influence the quality of your life. Learning to cope with your condition will enable you to live a better and happier life.