- by Daniel
What Is Chronic Pain? And How Can You Best Manage It?
Chronic back pain is completely different to acute back pain and as such you need to learn what it is and the best ways to treat it.
If your back pain has been hanging around for a long time then the chances are it may be chronic.
However, there's also a chance that it's not.
So you need to make sure that your back pain is the chronic kind before you attempt to treat it.
Because it may turn out to be acute pain and this needs to be treated and cared for in a completely different manner.
And if you use the wrong treatment method for the wrong type of pain, then you will only make things worse.
So read on and I'll explain exactly what chronic pain is and how it differs from acute pain.
And I'll also give you an idea of the best ways you can manage and treat it.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is defined as pain that you’ve had for more than 3 months and it's usually a pain that isn't caused by any specific injury or event.
In fact, you may never be able to find out why it started or why it remains.
It's just there.
Acute pain on the other hand is pain that occurs due to a specific incident or injury and one which usually clears up within 6 weeks.
This causes swelling and inflammation in your body and gives a pain that is sharp and intense.
And this type of pain can actually be helpful, as it makes you aware that you are doing something wrong and warns your body of an imminent danger.
Chronic pain on the other hand is far from helpful.
Because the feelings of pain trick your brain into thinking you are in danger when in reality there aren't any problems.
And this keeps you in a perpetual state of fight or flight mode which can lead to a multitude of other problems.
For instance, it can leave you feeling fragile and vulnerable, and make you afraid of attempting any physical tasks or activities.
This places unneeded limits on you that make you less active, less productive, and less confident.
And this is terrible for the health of your back, as living a sedentary lifestyle is a major cause of back pain.
Chronic pain can also cause you anxiety and stress, which can make it difficult to get a good night's sleep.
And a lack of sleep can increase your pain levels and darken your mood further.
Which leaves you feeling even more frustrated and angry.
You might then take this frustration out on your loved ones which can put a strain on your relationships.
And this can result in them withdrawing their love and support, which you desperately need to be able to manage your chronic pain.
So chronic pain can also impact on your lifestyle, personality, and identity as well as your physical body.
In short it can completely take over your life if you allow it to.
And the really bad news is that unlike acute pain it isn't going to heal and disappear any time soon.
Chronic Pain Is More Than Just Physical
When you suffer from chronic pain it can be confusing and extremely frustrating.
As you may never know where it originates from and once it has gripped you it's hard to understand why it won’t heal.
But by focusing solely on the body you are missing the point.
Because although chronic pain is felt in your body, it's also influenced greatly by your habits, thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
But how can that be?
Surely physical pain is just a sign that your body is hurting.
So what does what you're thinking, feeling, or doing have to do with it?
Well quite a lot as it turns out.
Because being anxious and worrying about your pain will make it worse.
Now I'm not saying your pain isn't real and in no way am I insinuating that dreaded phrase 'It’s all in your head'!
Because trust me, I know just how real chronic back pain is.
But what goes in in your head has a massive impact on your chronic pain experience and the levels of pain you feel.
For instance, by expecting things to hurt and expecting things to be a struggle guess what?
They will be!
Because your thoughts are powerful and by expecting pain and putting limits on yourself you are giving your pain the power to rule over you.
So don’t give it that power and adopt a positive attitude towards it instead.
As this will help you to stay active, adopt good habits, and fight back against it, which will lessen the pain you feel every day.
Positivity is that powerful.
And throughout this site I will give you advice on how you can achieve this kind of positive mindset in spite of your pain.
So make sure you try to adopt this type of thinking too as it really does make a huge difference.
Chronic Pain Is Most Common Among Physical Workers
Chronic pain can be an isolating illness and sometimes it can feel like you're the only one suffering.
But that’s really not true.
Because back pain affects one-third of the adult population in some way each year.
And it is estimated that in the UK alone 2.5 million people suffer with back pain every day.
So that’s 2.5 million people out of a population of 64 million that are living with chronic back pain, nearly 4%.
It's so common that official government figures of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Great Britain in 2015 found that back pain was the second highest reason for taking sick days from work after the common cold.
And the ones most at risk of developing chronic back pain are people that have physical jobs.
For example, it was found that the industries with the highest rate of workers suffering from chronic back pain were construction and agriculture.
As years of repetitive tasks, hard graft and heavy lifting all take their toll.
In fact, there were more than twice as many people suffering from chronic back pain in skilled trades in the construction industry than the average across ALL other industries.
Twice as many! That’s pretty damning right?
And suffering from chronic pain only makes it harder for them to continue to work, which if you’re self-employed like me is a huge problem.
Because no work = no money.
And the stress and worry of being able to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head will make your back pain even worse.
As we tend to hold this stress and tension within our muscles.
And the importance of work in someone’s life cannot be underestimated.
Not just for the financial security and independence it brings but also for the sense of purpose and value that it gives you.
As we identify ourselves through what we do for a living.
And taking that away can lead to a loss of self and mental and emotional difficulties.
So work isn't just important financially, it’s important for your self-esteem too.
Which means that if you have a physical job, learning how to manage your pain is vital if you're going to have the quality of life that you want.
How Best To Manage Your Chronic Pain
So now we get to the things you can do to fight back against the scourge of chronic back pain.
And the good news is that you’re in the right place.
Because this website is full of information on the many ways that you can do this and hopefully get rid of it for good.
It's all about being proactive and I've split this down into 3 stages:
This should give you the tools you need to tackle your chronic pain.
And by learning about your pain and taking action you can minimise it's effects and continue to live the life you want to live.
Some of the things I'll go through are:
It’s all here.
So I hope that explains what chronic pain is and how you can begin to deal with it.
And that it helps you to develop a lifestyle that leads to a happier and healthier future with less pain.