What is the Stressor?
Know your pain
When talking about pain, you must first know the difference between chronic pain and acute pain.
- Sudden, but temporary
- The result of a clearly defined cause such as injury, surgery, burn, or cut
- Goes away once healed - less than six months
- Exists beyond the healing process - usually associated with prolonged disease
- Can contribute to disability, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, poor quality of life
- Lasts beyond healing - more than six months
What is the stressor?
When developing an appropriate pain management plan for chronic pain, the most critical factor is to determine the stressor and the cause of the pain. For example, if you are having back pain - where is the pain coming from? Is it related to your posture? Is it related to stress? Maybe you regularly lift heavy objects?
Once the stressor is identified, short-term interventions may be added to your pain management plan to help ease your pain, so you are comfortable enough to make adjustments to your lifestyle. Medications, injections, or surgery are some options that can help reduce inflammation. It is very important to know that opioids should not be used to treat chronic pain - they are not the answer for this type of pain.
The next step is to make lifestyle adjustments. These may include physical and occupational therapy to increase strength, daily exercise, massage therapy, chiropractic care, etc. Treatment with exercise will provide a long-term pain solution. Inactivity leads to stiff muscles, decreased mobility, and decreased strength - all of these can worsen the symptoms of chronic pain. Gradually becoming more active will improve flexibility, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the muscles around joints.
Amarjit Virdi, MD, is a Pain Specialist at Crossing Rivers Health Center for Specialty Care. Dr. Virdi, in collaboration with Todd Schissel, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, can help identify an appropriate pain management plan for you.