Bringing Light to Chronic Back Pain During Pain Awareness Month

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Chronic pain syndrome is a prevalent problem that affects both men and women, young and old. This month is Pain Awareness Month. The purpose of the month is to provide education and awareness of the isolation many chronic pain sufferers feel and to discuss treatments and resources. Even though this blog will focus on back pain, there are many other types of chronic pain that affect individuals worldwide.

Back pain, like other forms of chronic pain disorders, can be classified as various types of chronic pain. They include both acute and chronic pain. Acute pain is of sudden onset and is usually the result of a clearly defined cause such as an injury. This type of pain resolves with the healing of its underlying cause. Chronic pain persists for weeks or months and is usually associated with an underlying condition, such as arthritis.   

Chronic Back Pain         

According to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, it is estimated that low back pain is among the top 10 diseases and injuries worldwide. Back pain may be caused by occupational posture, depressive moods, obesity, body height and age. The causes of low back pain remain obscure and diagnosis is often difficult to make. Even though back pain affects all ages, the onset of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50 and becomes more common with advancing age.

Chronic pain treatments may include the use of:

  1. Pharmacological treatments
    1. Anti-Inflammatory drugs
    2. Muscle relaxants
    3. Opioid medications (should be a last resort due to unwanted side effects and high addiction rate.)
  2. Physical therapy
    1. Stretching and flexibility exercises
    2. Core strengthening
    3. Aerobic exercises, including walking and swimming
  3. Rest and lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise
    1. Alternative treatments
    2. Acupuncture
    3. Massage
    4. Bio-feedback therapy
  4. Mindfulness and meditation

When individuals experience chronic pain syndrome, it is not unusual to experience both chronic pain and depression. They are considered to be comorbid or occurring at the same time. The occurrence of depressed mood may present as feelings of hopelessness, isolation, lack of interest or inability to participate in previously enjoyed activities. This often occurs when an individual experiences ongoing physical discomfort.

During Pain Awareness Month, recognize the hard work, commitment and daily fight of the pain warriors in your life. It is not an easy life but with many of the suggestions above, chronic pain can be managed and pain warriors can life a quality life.