If you’re one of the millions of people dealing with chronic pain, you know that it can be a frustrating and debilitating condition. But there’s a lot about chronic pain that you might not know.
Here are eight things you probably didn’t know about this common condition.
1. Chronic pain is defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks
2. Our nervous system shapes our perception of chronic pain.
3. Stress has a strong impact on how much pain you experience.
4. Childhood stress has been increasingly linked to adult chronic pain, and it is believed that the physiological changes in the body caused by stress as a child can predispose an individual to increased sensitivity to pain.
5. Research has shown that our nervous system may become locked into this cycle of stress and pain as neural pathways work to not only alert us to potential sources of distress but also reminds us of past painful experiences.
6. Chronic pain affects mood levels, energy, range of motion, sleep quality, concentration, digestive problems, overall well-being, and more.
7. Chronic pain is often described as both a physical and psychological experience.
8. Individuals can learn how to rewire their brains, so they are better able to cope with chronic pain and reduce its effects on their lives.
Statistics show that chronic pain affects over 100 million Americans. In addition, nearly a third of all adults have had to seek medical attention for pain.
Taking charge of chronic pain can be empowering! There are many proven techniques, such as acupuncture and mind-body exercises, that have been scientifically demonstrated to reduce stress, create relaxation and heal both physical and emotional pain.
Recent discoveries in the area of neuroplasticity also suggest that we can modify our thought patterns to manage our chronic pain better. While some techniques work for one person more than another, experimentation is key – don’t give up! Utilizing a combination of acupuncture, psychotherapy, traditional medicine, and mindful practices has the potential to open powerful new healing pathways for those suffering from chronic pain.