In late 2018, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report which estimated that 50 million Americans have chronic pain. That is just a little more than 20% of the adult population in our country. Are you one of them? If so, it is possible that the naturopathic treatments that we offer at Integrative Natural Medical Clinic (INMC) could help. Contact our team today to learn more about the types of treatments we offer. In the meantime, let’s take a look at five common ways in which chronic pain can affect a person.
How Does Chronic Pain Affect Mental Health?
Not surprisingly, any amount of chronic pain can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. It could be the pain itself that is causing you to toss and turn, or it could be side effects of prescription pain medications that you are on which are preventing you from getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Insomnia is downright frustrating, but it can also cause problems in other areas of your life. Poor memory, digestion problems, and strained relationships have been related to insomnia. Additionally, lack of sleep can make anxiety, depression, and other conditions worse.
If you are losing out on valuable sleep at night due to chronic pain or medication side effect, you’re bound to start feeling fatigued after a while. The frequent fatigue that patients feel with chronic pain is more serious than the feeling of being tired that we sometimes experience. This is because fatigue associated with chronic pain is unlikely to be relieved with a little bit of rest and relaxation and it often compounds as the chronic pain lingers. In fact, resting can actually make fatigue worse. This feeling of constant physical fatigue can also lead to mental exhaustion as individuals work hard to maintain an energized normal appearance
Chronic pain can often lead to chronic anxiety as individuals begin to worry about the duration of their symptoms. Will the pain go away? Will I feel this way for the rest of my life? How am I going to pay for the bills and doctor’s visits associated with my pain? These are just a few of the worries on which individuals with chronic pain tend to ruminate. All of this worrying can lead to panic attacks and anxiety, which in turn can increase the likelihood of mental fatigue and insomnia. As you can see, chronic pain is often at the center of a very troublesome, repetitive psychological cycle.
Although anxiety and depression are two different conditions, they are well-known companions of chronic pain. This is not surprising given that chronic pain often causes a level of fatigue that prevents individuals from living their life to the fullest. For example, your chronic pain may leave you feeling so fatigued that you would rather nap than hang out with friends and loved ones. You may withdraw from your normal activities due to chronic pain, which can result in self-imposed isolation. Over time, feeling isolated and like no one understands what you’re going through can leave an individual feeling depressed.
Many are surprised to learn that guilt is also a common result of chronic pain. Someone who is not experiencing the pain may have a hard time understanding why someone would feel guilty about something they cannot control. However, for the person experiencing chronic pain, guilt can accompany even the most simple of everyday tasks. For example, if you are unable to attend your child’s sporting event or enjoy a night out on the town with your spouse, you may feel guilty about it. As the pain wears on and continues to impact your ability to participate in everyday activities, it can be easy to feel overcome with guilt.
Coping With the Psychological Effects of Chronic Pain
You may not be able to get rid of your chronic pain for good, but there are a few things you can do to help keep the associated psychological effects at bay. These include:
- Learning more about chronic pain to reduce fear and worry
- Practicing mindfulness by focusing on how you are feeling in the moment
- Exercising with permission from your doctor
- Talking about your feelings with a counselor
- Considering non-prescription alternatives for your pain
Naturopathic Treatments for Pain
Are you tired of sitting on the sidelines of your life because of chronic pain? While there is no outright cure for this troublesome condition, there are ways of decreasing its intensity in order to reduce its psychological effects. INMC offers several treatments, including prolozone therapy, that can help individuals manage chronic pain and we would love to hear from you. Contact our team today to learn more about how you can potentially reduce chronic pain levels and the psychological effects that accompany them or book your appointment at our naturopathic clinic in Pasadena online now.