According to the Institute of Medicine, an eye-popping 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, costing Americans approximately $600 billion a year in treatments and lost productivity. These numbers make it apparent that chronic pain is a major obstacle that is a real public health challenge. Check out this video from the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA):
To help combat issues surrounding chronic pain, the ACPA has declared September to be Pain Awareness Month. Started in 2001, Pain Awareness Month is a large-scale public information campaign that seeks to engage people suffering from chronic pain and their family members, as well as local, state, and federal legislative bodies and political officials.
Chronic pain can take many forms and have a wide variety of causes but is most commonly described as one that does not easily go away. If left untreated, chronic pain can cause:
- Increased feelings of fatigue
- Reduced activity and energy levels
- Immune response weakness
- Depression and other mood changes
- Short and long-term disability
What should you do if you are experiencing chronic pain? First, of course, you should consult a medical professional any time you feel pain in the same place for more than a couple of days. It’s common for people to want to wait to see if the pain goes away, however, that may end up aggravating the cause of the pain and lead to more permanent damage to your body. Even after you consult your primary care physician, it’s often a good idea to see a pain specialist.
The good news is that many chronic pains can be treated with minimal use of drugs. While a medical professional may prescribe pain management therapies at first to provide immediate relief, there are also many options to address chronic pain through physical therapy and exercise. These types of treatments often include stretching, basic yoga, light cardio, and light other physical activities.
Be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our pain specialists. We treat many conditions and injuries of the back, neck, and spine by taking a whole-person approach to care. Our focus is getting you back on your feet in good health.