Chronic pain is becoming a problem for more and more people in America and poses a difficult problem for doctors and nurses trying to treat this problem and get their patients back to optimal function. In recent decades, doctors tended to overprescribe pain killers like hydrocodone and methadone to help chronic pain sufferers, with the result that now the more people are addicted to prescription medications than they are to traditional street drugs. However, part of a holistic approach to pain management is understanding what causes or triggers chronic pain. Here are five triggers that you may not have thought about.
Researchers are increasingly aware of the link between present physical pain and past emotional trauma like childhood abuse or post-traumatic stress. Many patient with chronic pain who don’t respond to more traditional treatments frequently have a history of some sort of emotional trauma.
Though it may sound counterintuitive, long-term or overuse of analgesics makes pain worse by dulling your body’s response to pain and this leads to the need for stronger or more frequent doses of analgesics to provide the same effect. Thus, in the long run, analgesics for chronic pain just makes the problem worse.
Pain sensitivity is heightened with sleep is poor; on the other hand, good-quality sleep can help increase the supply of blood to the muscles and other tissues and help with restoration and repair, sometimes help to alleviate the root cause of the problem. Sleeping pills, however, are best avoided, since they will put you to sleep but not necessarily improve the sleep quality.
Overuse of painkillers or even conditions like gluten sensitivity can damage the villi, the tiny hairs that that live in the walls of your digestive tract, which is responsible for some 70% of your body’s immune function. Damage to the villi in turn leads to an increase in toxins and bacteria that can overstimulate the digestive nerve endings and cause chronic pain.
While magnesium does not get the same attention in the press as other minerals like calcium or iron, it is extremely important for many functions, including pain control. Magnesium deficiency can cause nerves to become more sensitive to pain and thus lower the threshold for it. Dietary intake of magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens and nuts is highly recommended.
Chronic pain is a complex health problem with many factors contributing to it, including the ones discussed above. Pain management strategies which seem to be the most effective are ones which are holistic and focus in on the physical, emotional and cognitive needs of the sufferer and focus in on non-pharmacological pain control whenever possible, teaching patients about a balanced diet, appropriate exercise and stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga to manage their pain.
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