What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is pain that continues beyond the time expected for a painful condition or injury to heal, usually about 3 months. It is different from acute pain.
Chronic pain can be associated with chronic conditions but in many cases no specific cause can be found. It is thought that chronic pain occurs because the nerves and spinal cord become over sensitive.
Chronic pain is complex to treat but there are things you can do, with help from healthcare professionals, to achieve your goals despite being in chronic pain.
Living with chronic pain.
If you have chronic pain you are not alone; up to one in three South Africans are living with chronic pain. However your experience of pain is unique to you.
Your experience of pain can be influenced by lots of factors in your life and your experience of pain may vary over time.
It is important not to get caught in a negative cycle. It may seem natural to avoid doing activities that may make the pain worse, but inactivity can lead to muscle weakening and can affect sleep, mood and relationships. If no ongoing cause for the pain is found that is causing damage, you can slowly increase your activity despite the pain. This gradual approach to activity is called pacing.
Managing Chronic Pain
In chronic pain the focus of treatment often needs to be on managing the pain and improving day-to-day function, rather than completely stopping the pain.
Healthcare professionals can provide help and support, but self-management is important too.
Chronic pain is best managed through a multidisciplinary pain management plan with your healthcare providers. This can cover many aspects of your life such as physical fitness and activity pacing, social activities, medication (including complementary medicine and approaches), mood, sleep, relaxation, support and overall health.
Connect with our Holistic Integrative Medical Doctor to guide you through a holistic pain management plan