Ongoing joint pain or conditions like osteoarthritis are examples of chronic pain. Acute pain, on the other hand, is categorized as sudden and severe discomfort. So, if you cut your finger with a knife while pretending you’re the next Top Chef, don’t fret. Painful injuries like these usually go away within a relatively short period of time.
Risk factors for chronic pain include:
- Previous injury
- Previous surgery
- Being female8
Women present more often with chronic pain than men do, although researchers are still working to figure out why.9
Visit your healthcare professional to best understand what causes your chronic pain. Together, you can tailor a path of treatment that works for you and addresses your underlying causes of chronic pain.
Management of chronic pain
Managing chronic pain can help you regain your joy of movement, so you can feel a little bit more like yourself again.
See your healthcare professional for medicated chronic pain relief options.
There are lots of things that can help to keep you moving without medication. Non-medicated chronic pain management can include:...
Stress can make chronic pain worse.10 Relaxation techniques may help you reduce stress in your life and might help to lessen pain.11 They may also improve your quality of sleep, which has a large impact on chronic pain.12
Eating well and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can contribute to overall wellness. Maintaining a healthy body weight can take physical strain off your body, thereby helping to ease pain.
- Physical therapy
Physical therapy, using techniques such as stretching exercises and massage, may help ease chronic pain. This can help to strengthen the muscles around your joints, which will help support them and prevent problems. The goal of physical therapy is to increase your strength and flexibility gradually, so you get back on your feet.13
TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It is a tool often used by doctors and physical therapists alike to help block chronic pain signals to the brain using electrodes attached to the skin, relieving your pain without additional medication.14
- Light exercise
Light exercise can strengthen your muscles, relieving pressure on your joints. This can help decrease pain in your joints.15 One of the benefits of light exercise is that it reduces the risk of and can improve symptoms of chronic disease, like back or joint pain.16
Stretching keeps your muscles loose, which can relieve pressure on your joints. A regular stretching routine can keep your muscles strong and healthy, resulting in increased range of motion.17
If your pain isn’t serious and is a type that you and your health care provider deem can be managed yourself, it’s important to get on top of it so it doesn’t hold you back from getting on with life. That way you can regain a sense of yourself and once again enjoy doing the things you love.