The effects of Chronic Pain on your Attitude

Today I found some relief from a chronic itchy skin rash condition that I have had for 9 months reminding me how much that low level of pain affects your general outlook on life.

After much consideration, I ended up deciding it was time to employ western medicine – for what it is intended to be and good at dealing with – an emergency. I will give the doctor credit, and that’s saying a lot for me these days, he knew enough to look at me and say -“I can only treat your symptoms but you are still going to have an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.”  Hallelujah!

As I walked out I looked at my husband and said, “I really need to partner with that Doctor because it’s that underlying issue that functional medicine/nutrition should be addressing”, essentially finding that root cause.

For me, right now, I needed relief of symptoms while I am still exploring root cause. That relief reminded me just how much extra energy it takes to go through life living with any amount of continuous underlying pain.

As my fog clears slightly (at least for a few days), I realize I haven’t wanted to write a blog post, or post to instagram, or do anything that might require a little extra effort. What this teaches me, is that as we try to find the root cause for the chronic symptoms, we may need to find different ways to relieve symptoms as quick as possible, in a way that doesn’t cause long term harm to healing. As with anything, it’s all about balance.

Why do I feel unmotivated as I struggle with the chronic pain?

One study compared the brain scans of a healthy brain and a person with chronic pain. The healthy brain had areas that were active and de-active, it was essentially at equilibrium. In the chronic pain brain, researchers found that a part of the brain responsible for emotions fails to deactivate and eventually wears out neurons and alters connections. This ultimately may be responsible for why chronic pain sufferers have trouble sleeping, are often depressed, anxious and even have difficulty making simple decisions.

Institutes for Health analysis from 2015 shows that 25.3 million adults had pain every day for the preceding 3 months, and that nearly 40 million adults experience severe levels of pain. The authors postulate that pain is one of the leading reasons Americans turn to complementary health approaches.

Western medicine is great at treating the pain associated with chronic illness using remedies like opioids, steroids, NSAIDS or even heartburn medicine. However, these remedies may actually be contributing to a longer term condition that ultimately leads to more pain. The focus ultimately should be on finding the underlying cause of that symptom.

Fortunately, the Holistic Health Community offers some complementary and alternative treatments for pain control without drugs that have long-term side effects:

yoga
meditation
acupuncture
chiropractic care
message therapy

and, of course, nutritional therapy …

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