Chronic pain is different from acute pain in that it usually lasts for months or years and remains even after the body heals from the injuries or illnesses that led to it.

Living with chronic pain is an unbearable experience that makes it difficult for sufferers to endure daily life. It makes basic tasks such as caring for oneself, sleeping, or socializing become super hard. It is one of the most likely reasons that people seek out medical help, and in the United States, more than 20% of people live with it.

Sometimes, there is no physically detectable root cause of chronic pain. It can be so resistant to primary care that patients will have to see a pain specialist. As the factors contributing to chronic pain are complicated and sometimes have no linear cause and effect structure, chronic pain management begins with getting insight into possible risk factors. Understanding these factors may be amenable to preventing or managing pain through lifestyle changes. Continue reading to learn more

Chronic Illnesses

Certain illnesses present as intense throbbing, burning and aching near the body part affected. In such cases, pain is caused by the presence of a disease. Examples include Arthritis, where joints get inflamed by triggers such as stress or weather changes. As there is no cure, the pain can only be managed through medications. For long-term relief, light exercises and weight management are recommended to ensure that pressure on the affected joints is minimal. Cancer treatments also trigger unmanageable pain in patients that can only be managed through medication and specific pain therapies. Research shows that the likelihood of chronic pain increases with multiple comorbidities, making the prevalence of chronic pain higher in people with chronic illnesses.

Aging

Another risk factor for chronic pain is aging. Older people have lesser bone density; as such, they are susceptible to complications from falls or slips. As their bones may not heal properly, chronic pain is likely to emerge in joints. Also, as one gets older, illnesses of different sorts occur, and they may contribute to pain. The presence of these multiple likely causes makes it difficult to diagnose, with exactness, the root cause of pain, leaving sufferers to endure unmanageable pain.

Occupational factors

Having a physically labor-intensive job is a primary contributor to long-term pain. Physically strenuous activities will, over time, lead to muscle strain, accumulating as back pain. (which is one of the most common types of pain)

Due to the lack of job security in such fields, workers may not be able to take time out to rest or heal after workplace injuries occur, resulting in persistent pain.

Lifestyle Factors

While there may not be evidence for a direct link between one’s lifestyle choices and the onset of pain, studies show a prevalence of persistent pain in people with certain behaviors. Smoking heavily, for instance, may lead to cardiovascular disease, which is a common comorbidity for chronic pain. Alcohol withdrawal also heightens pain sensitivity. Higher BMIs are likewise associated with chronic pain. Sleeping problems have been found as a risk factor for the continuity of pain. In such cases, lifestyle changes may be instrumental in managing pain intensity.

Poor mental health

There is no evidence-backed link between poor mental health and chronic pain, but studies suggest a bi-directional relationship between these. This is because individuals with chronic pain often are depressed and anxious, while people who live with depression have issues with emotional regulation. After a while, many people who suffer chronic pain begin to experience depressive episodes as part of their condition. While looking after a sufferer’s mental health may improve their outlook on pain, treating the root cause of pain alongside holds a better prognosis for pain management.

If you are experiencing chronic pain, please consult with a pain specialist. Lakeshore Pain and Spine Center can help you find solutions to living a fuller life. Get in touch today.