More than 25 million people (11% of the population) in the United States face chronic pain every day when they wake up, and the physical and mental toll this takes cannot be understated. While it may be of some comfort to know that you’re not alone, these numbers do little to help with your unique situation.
At Westside Pain Specialists, under the experienced guidance of Dr. James Nassiri, we help our patients in Beverly Hills, California, gain the upper hand on their chronic pain, helping them lead lives free from the prison that often comes with relentless pain.
To get you started, we’ve pulled together a few things that you should understand about dealing with chronic pain.
The fight is real
It’s important to state up front that we understand the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances that come with undiagnosed chronic pain. We partner with each of our patients to dig down and identify the underlying cause of the discomfort in order to find the best treatment plan.
All too often, if the medical world doesn’t fully understand a problem, it’s swept under the carpet until more science comes along to paint a clearer picture. This is unfortunate. But such is often the case with fibromyalgia, neuropathy, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and untreated injuries from your past that rear their ugly heads years later in the form of chronic pain.
Thankfully, medical researchers are sitting up and taking notice of chronic pain thanks to the sheer numbers of people who are dealing with a daily onslaught of discomfort that limits their lives in considerable ways. New studies are continuously coming out that are forming greater links between the human brain, pain, and the body.
Here at our practice, we’ve long understood these connections, which is why we take a multipronged approach to pain management to effectively address the mental, physical, and sociological effects that come with chronic pain.
Taking the first steps
The most important thing you can do for chronic pain is to take some first steps to gain back some of the control you’ve lost in your battle against pain. While we deal with the physiological side of the equation, you can do your part by addressing other areas of your life.
For example, the link between chronic pain and depression is one that’s being acknowledged around the world by the medical community, as they study how your brain and nervous system tend to function much the same way when dealing with both issues. This is why we may recommend antidepressants as part of your treatment plan for chronic pain.
If you suffer from anxiety, which may or may not be related to your chronic pain, we highly recommend measures that help you cope with stress. Simple relaxation techniques or gentle exercise go a long way toward helping you manage your stress responses, which ramp up your body’s fight-or-flight system, further complicating your chronic pain.
By using meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga, you can prevent stress from hijacking your health. In fact, moving around can help enormously with chronic pain by getting your blood flowing and circulating your endorphins, which are brain chemicals that improve your mood and decrease pain signals.
While we understand that exercise may be the last thing you want to do if your body is in pain, if you’re physically able, the reward of a little movement is well worth the effort. Be sure to check with us on this front as we can suggest exercises that work within the confines of your illness.
Lastly, as we stated up front, chronic pain affects more than 25 million people in the US, which means that you’re part of a group that can lean on each other for support and ideas. Ask us about support groups in the area that may help with the sociological piece of the chronic pain puzzle — isolation and feeling terribly alone.
If you’re in chronic pain, we want you to use us as a resource for all of your needs. Together, we can fight back and restore your quality of life. To learn more, call our office or use the online scheduling tool on this website.