Pain serves a useful purpose. It’s your body’s way of warning you that something is wrong. If you step on a sharp object or put your hand on a hot stove, the pain lets you know that you are hurt and need to protect yourself.
There are two different types of pain. Acute pain is temporary and could last up to six months. It is caused by something specific, such as a broken bone, a cut, or childbirth. If left untreated, the pain could become chronic.
Chronic pain affects 1 in 5 U.S. adults. It results from a past injury or illness such as tissue damage or arthritis and lasts longer than six months. Chronic pain:
- Increases stress levels.
- Disrupts sleep.
- Encourages unhealthy behaviors like:
- Avoiding movement.
- Alcohol use.
- Medication abuse.
These behaviors promote chronic pain to last longer. Chronic pain harms everyday living, such as work, friendships, and daily thoughts.
Avoid quick fixes such as injections and surgery for managing day-to-day pain once your doctor has ruled out anything serious. Treatments such as physical therapy and continual movement are better long-term solutions.
Pain, no matter what kind, is produced in the brain. You can retrain your brain in how it recognizes pain signals and interrupt pain differently. If you think, feel, and expect positive things, your brain produces chemicals that help you with pain and strengthen your immune system. These chemicals create a positive feedback loop to help you feel better and improve your mood.
For more information about managing chronic pain, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-355-0885. We are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. MT.
Supporting facts and citations:
National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2019