Chronic pain is a problem many people suffer from. Back pain and joint pain are especially common. Some people suffer from long-term pain due to debilitating illnesses like cancer. There are many risk factors that commonly lead to chronic pain. This article will focus on age, lifestyle choices and common illnesses that cause ongoing pain.
How Common is Chronic Pain?
How many people have chronic pain? A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control states that approximately 50 million Americans suffer chronic pain. This pain problem causes American workers to lose about 80 million dollars per year in wages, according to Healthline.com.
Age is perhaps the most well-known biological factor that causes long-term pain. As people age, they lose their agility and balance and are prone to stumbling and falling. A bad fall can lead to bone fractures. Because older adults are more likely to suffer from a loss of bone density, bones often fail to heal properly. This causes the ongoing bone and joint pain.
Older adults are also more likely to suffer from multiple illnesses concurrently. The presence of multiple ailments can make it difficult for physicians to diagnose the source of various pains. This may cause ailments to go untreated and patients to suffer without proper treatment.
Lifestyle and Work
Work-Related Causes of Chronic Pain
Some people suffer chronic pain due to their jobs. For instance, working in a profession that requires physical labor can cause injuries. Heavy lifting can cause muscle pain and back pain, especially for those who don’t follow safety measures while lifting heavy objects.
Back pain is among the most common types of chronic pain, especially among those who work in physical labor jobs. In addition to work, the following risk factors can create or exacerbate back problems:
Repetitive movements done over many years lead to both muscle and joint pain. For instance, some typists suffer carpal tunnel pain in their wrists and arms. If untreated, these conditions worsen.
Habits and Lifestyle Choices
Sleeping in an uncomfortable position worsens chronic muscle pain. Having poor posture puts strain on both the back and the neck. Bending the neck repeatedly to text or use a cell phone can worsen existing back and neck problems. People who have desk jobs should stand and stretch periodically to prevent cramping.
When people are stressed, they sometimes neglect to take proper care of themselves. They may not eat well and fail to exercise. This causes the person to suffer even more. One way to limit stress is to talk through problems with a therapist. Making a list of stressors and avoiding those stressful situations is also a good strategy for relieving stress.
Another risk factor for those who have chronic pain is a lack of exercise. Sitting for long periods without exercise can cause muscles to tighten. A physical therapist can suggest the proper stretches and exercises necessary to relieve pain. Stretching and exercising regularly also help people relieve stress and soothe nerves.
Other lifestyle choices that can lead to chronic pain are:
- Lack of sleep
Arthritis is the term used to describe a condition in which joint’s become inflamed. There’s no cure for arthritis. An arthritis flare-up can come from changes in the weather, such as changes in humidity. Some sufferers report that life stressors can cause their arthritis to flare up.
People with arthritis often report chronic pain in their joints. This pain can be moderate or even severe. Over-the-counter drugs and prescribed medications can relieve the pain. However, many doctors don’t want patients to rely solely on medication. Patients have a number of other options for pain relief. They can try light exercises and stretches. Applying either a hot or a cold compress to the joint can also relieve pain. Staying within a healthy body weight also helps relieve joint pressure.
Cancer treatments often cause long-term pain. Patients who take chemotherapy report shooting pains, headaches and tingling sensations throughout the body. Some patients even refuse treatments or quit taking painful or invasive cancer treatments. Physicians often prescribe pain medications or various therapies to relieve pain in cancer patients. For instance, some patients have found pain relief by taking yoga, receiving massage therapy or doing meditation exercises.
No one should live in constant pain. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, contact a physician or a pain management clinic. Sometimes the best plan of care involves the use of multiple therapies.