Don’t let anyone dismiss your chronic pain.

The patient complains about pain. Then her doctor writes on his patient’s medical file, “Patient doesn’t appear to be in pain.”

Sound familiar?

You can’t see chronic pain.

Do not let anyone dismiss your chronic pain just because they can’t figure out how to make you feel better.

Chronic pain affects at least 116 million American adults ~ more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined.

If you’ve been in pain for more than three months, you’re suffering from “chronic pain,” one of the most common reasons why people see their doctors.

Use a variety of strategies.

Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D., chief of pain management at Stanford School of Medicine, says, “Pain is now being thought of as a disease in and of its own right.

“Pain causes fundamental changes within our nervous system that can perpetuate and cause pain to be maintained even after the injury has healed.”

Comprehensive programs that address the biological, psychological and social aspects of pain are most effective at improving quality of life.

& while medications help many conditions, here are a few strategies to manage pain:

Find a pain specialist.

First consult with your primary care physician.

Most medical doctors get a couple hours of post-surgical pain management training in medical school. But not in chronic pain.

Your doctor may recommend a board certified physiatrist or pain management specialist who’s completed a residency and perhaps some specialty training in chronic pain.

Julie Silver, M.D., assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, last week told America’s favorite doctor Mehmet Oz, M.D., that she’s a physiatrist. & physiatrists are known as “pain doctors.”

But Dr. Silver believes only about one out of every 100 physiatrists are true pain management specialists.

This shortage of pain specialists makes it even more important for you to educate yourself about chronic pain so you can be a partner with your doctor in managing your condition.

Exercise.

Continue doing the exercises your physical therapist or chiropractor gave you to do at home.

Exercise can strengthen and lengthen muscles so you avoid further injury.

Try to walk an extra 5-10 minutes a day. Go swimming or take a water aerobics class, especially if it’s in warm water, for extra relief.

Reduce inflammation.

Get anti-inflammatory benefits from taking omega-3 fatty acids supplements. This will lubricate your joints and reduce your pain.

Buy from big chain supplement stores so you’ll be more likely to get the percentage of product promised on the label.

Meditate.

Meditation can help you increase your awareness of thoughts and feelings, instead of just reacting to them.

Then you’ll begin to experience pain as a moment-to-moment sensation, which will lessen the severity.

Learn healthy breathing habits.

Acupuncture

Consider acupuncture to release muscular tension, improve blood circulation and help your body heal.

Embrace a new normal.

Studies show you’ll hurt less and sleep better if you focus on what you can control in your life.

Fear and anger ~ normal reactions ~ can make you feel worse.

Everyday, think of 10 things you’re thankful for.

Resources

For more information, visit the American Chronic Pain Association, The Institute of Medicine, and UpToDate.

Robert W. Ferguson, D.C., F.I.A.M.A., state-licensed chiropractor and acupuncturist, sees patients at 2250 W. 86th Street, Ste. 100, on the north side of Indianapolis by Le Peep restaurant. Just look for the orange sign.

Chiropractic Rehabilitation & Acupuncture now accepts Healthy Indiana Plan for chiropractic services, and most insurance for chiropractic therapy and acupuncture.

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