Chronic pain is typically defined as pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks. It can even last for months at a time. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this type of pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the U.S. and—along with its subsequent treatments—is frequently misunderstood and shrouded in fiction versus fact.
Below, please take a look at the five chronic pain myths we have effectively debunked:
Myth: Pain is simply a part of the aging process.
Fact: Sometimes, that is true. There are some aches and pains that come from the wear and tear on the body as we age. The difference, however, is that chronic pain is generally constant whereas “growing pains” usually come and go.
Myth: Patients with chronic pain need to just “tough it out.”
Fact: Choosing to ignore pain can have serious consequences. To start, pain is the body’s way of letting patients know that something is amiss and needs to be addressed. In addition, choosing to ignore the pain rather than seeing a healthcare professional may lead to unsafe and unhealthy self-medicating.
Myth: Exercising while in pain can result in further injury.
Fact: While running a full marathon isn’t necessarily recommended, exercise such as physical therapy can play a vital role in successfully managing chronic pain. Keeping the body moving helps to improve blood circulation and keeps muscles, tendons and ligaments loose.
Myth: If there’s no “seeable” cause for the pain, it must be in the patient’s head.
Fact: Chronic pain is very real, but sometimes the exact cause of pain can remain unknown to physicians. That’s because pain is an extremely complex sensation that can be different for each patient.
Myth: Chronic pain due to complex conditions can only be fixed through surgical means.
Fact: Chronic pain that may be the result of an issue such as a spine condition do not necessarily require surgical intervention. Physical therapy, nerve blocks and joint injections are just some of the methods available for effectively managing chronic pain.
Chronic pain may come with a lot of misconceptions, but the bottom line is that patients do not have to live with this potentially debilitating condition. There are ways to effectively manage it and live a life free from pain.
At Northeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine (NEOSM), our team of interventional pain management specialists offers a variety of surgical and non-surgical options to give patients relief from chronic back pain and other pain-related issues as part of our continuum of care.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.