Are you an injured athlete who’s been experiencing chronic pain for a while? Worry no more! In this article, we’re going to tell you what chronic pain is, its symptoms, types, possible causes, and natural remedies that can help reduce your chronic pain.
So, What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is an ongoing pain that lasts for more than 6 months. This pain continues even after the illness or injury that caused it has gone away. Pain signals stay active in the nervous system for more extended periods.
According to a 2019 study by CDC, the overall prevalence of chronic pain is 20.4%. The study found that chronic pain was highest among those aged above 65 years by 30.8%, non-Hispanic white adults by 23.6%, and women by 21.7%.
According to the AAPM, chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability, affecting more than 1.5 billion people worldwide.
What are the Symptoms of Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain affects both your mental and physical health. While the pain can be constant, activity and stress can cause more intense pain. Some of the symptoms include:
- Mood issues, such as irritability, anxiety, and depression.
- Loss of flexibility and stamina due to reduced activity.
- Burning pain.
- Joint pain.
- Muscle aches.
In one study, 60.8% of the subjects who reported chronic pain also had depression. Most of them experienced severe symptoms.
Types of Chronic Pain
- Psychogenic pain – pain that isn’t caused by nerve damage, injury, or illness.
- Cancer pain
- Neurogenic pain – caused by nerve damage.
- Arthritis pain
- Post-trauma pain
- Post-surgical pain
- Lower back pain
What Causes Chronic Pain?
Initial injury, such as pulled muscle or back sprain, causes chronic pain. Chronic pain usually develops after nerve damages. Nerve damage is what makes pain long-lasting and intense. In such cases, treating the underlying cause may fail to resolve the chronic pain.
Some people can experience chronic pain without any prior injury. Chronic pain may also result from underlying health conditions, such as:
- Vulvodynia – Chronic pain in the vulva without any apparent cause.
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction – A condition that causes painful locking, popping, and clicking of the jaw.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome – A condition characterized by a prolonged and extreme weariness that’s usually accompanied by pain.
- Interstitial cystitis – A condition characterized by bladder pain and pressure.
- Endometriosis - Occurs when the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus.
- Inflammatory bowel disease – A condition that causes chronic inflammation and pain in the digestive tract
- Fibromyalgia – Chronic pain in the muscles and bones.
Factors such as being obese or overweight, female, having surgery, injury, and age can increase your risk of developing chronic pain. Chronic pain changes the way neurons transmit and process sensory input. It makes them hypersensitive to pain messages.
Ways to Help Reduce Chronic Pain
Meditation addresses both mental and physical aspects of chronic pain. Meditation increases flexibility and strength. It also helps you to relax your muscles. This is especially helpful when the pain makes you tense up. Meditation, accompanied by deep breathing, can help you ignore thoughts that trigger the emotional response to pain.
Massage is the manipulation of soft tissues, such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Therapeutic massage can help calm your mind, allow blood flow, and loosen your tight muscles. Like many complementary therapies, you may need to try more than one approach to find what works best for you.
Exercising is an effective way to reduce chronic pain. It helps you strengthen and stretch your muscles, reduce joints stiffness, and improve circulation. If exercises like running might fail to work for you, sports like cycling and swimming can offer the same benefits without the high impact.
Cannabis has been used for centuries as a pain-reliever and an anti-inflammatory agent. Today, there is substantial medical evidence that proves cannabis to be an effective pain reliever.
If your pain is linked to depression, vaping could be enough to re-energize you. Vaping cannabis will deliver immediate pain relief. Cannabis eases chronic pain, including that resulting from inflammation and nerve damage.
Today, chronic pain affects more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. When you vape cannabis, it’ll stimulate your brain’s cannabinoid receptors. This activates the reward system of your brain, which reduces pain levels.
The psychoactive compound THC, found in cannabis, binds to cannabinoid receptors and produces an elevated state of mind. Its interaction with the brain's pain receptors has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.
In Zamnesia's Headshop, Vaporshop, Seedshop, Smartshop, Shroomshop, and CBDshop, you can find a whole range of products, like CBD products and famous cannabis strains like the Amnesia Haze, to mention a few.
Since managing chronic pain involves both your mind and body, you’ll need a team of psychologists, physical therapists, neurologists, and a primary doctor. They’ll be dedicated to helping you find a solution to your chronic pain.
The most critical part of your treatment is always to stay optimistic. Remember that you’re not alone, and your team will help you get the relief you need.