In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report indicating 50 million Americans have chronic pain. This comprises more than 20 percent of the adult population.
Chronic is one of two types of pain:
- Chronic pain: Pain lasts longer than six months. In some cases, it can continue for years.
- Acute pain: Pain persists for fewer than six months. Typically, the pain lessens after a physician determines the cause and treats it. Sometimes the pain resolves itself.
The pain associated with a papercut, for example, is acute. It hurts a lot, but it stops hurting as the injury heals.
Unlike acute pain, chronic pain can last for weeks, months, and even years. It could start out as acute pain from an injury. The injury may have healed, but then it returns when it’s re-injured. As time goes on, the injured area can experience chronic pain.
What You Need to Know About Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can happen anywhere in the body. It can be caused by many conditions. Common types of chronic pain include:
- Lower back pain
- Nerve damage pain
Chronic pain can cause other symptoms. The constant pain can affect sleep, so the person feels tired all the time. That affects a person’s mood and energy levels. By the time someone lives with chronic pain, it’s likely the person has tried many treatment options. It’s only natural to think surgery is the only option left.
Pain management treatment options have come a long way in recent years. Fortunately, many don’t require surgery.
When to See a Doctor for Pain
Start keeping track of the symptoms and the pain level for each one. A helpful way to gauge your pain is to use the Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale.
You typically won’t need to see a specialist if you experience the following:
- Minor pain
- No signs of weakness
- Minor lifestyle adjustments
- Control pain with over-the-counter medication
You may contact your primary physician about these symptoms. The physician may advise you to wait a few days and follow up.
If you experience these symptoms, then you may want to call a specialist:
- Pain is constant and unbearable
- Trouble sleeping
- Experience weakness, numbness, or tingling
- Struggling to walk properly
- Foot drags on the floor
- Can’t work or parent
- Bladder or bowel problems
- Unexplained weight loss
Contact the specialist’s office, describe the symptoms, and the pain level. And they’ll let you know what to do next. At the appointment, the staff will review your medical history and symptoms. They’ll also ask about how the affects your everyday life. The next steps vary for every patient.
If you have questions, contact us or call 214-823-2052. With offices in Addison and Dallas, our team serves residents in Dallas, Addison, Plano, Frisco, Garland, and other cities in the DFW metroplex.