The sun rises on a new day, and as you get up from bed, you find it difficult to move. Your back is stiff, your shoulders are tight, even your knees hurt, and you’ve only just gotten up. The pain is exhausting, but you haven’t fallen down or done anything to hurt yourself recently, so you move on and try to tell yourself that it isn’t as bad as you think it is. Tomorrow, the pain is still there, and even when you take some basic pain relievers, you feel that constant ache.
This scenario is how many people with undiagnosed pain conditions feel. They may experience pain constantly, or at intermittent times throughout the week, which had no explanation. Many people who experience chronic pain might think that it’s all in their head, or that they just aren’t “healthy” enough, since it can be difficult to diagnose their symptoms, but the reality of the situation is that their pain is very real, and their conditions should not be ignored.
In honor of National Pain Awareness Month, New Braunfels ER wants to inform everyone of some of the most common, and least expected, symptoms of pain conditions.
What Defines Chronic Pain?
When doctors use the term “chronic pain,” they are usually referring to pain that is ongoing or recurrent, beyond any acute triggers. This means that if someone experiences constant, or frequent pain after an injury or illness, they are experiencing chronic pain. If someone doesn’t have an injury or illness, but still experiences pain, this is also considered chronic pain. Any pain lasts in excess from 3-6 months is considered chronic and may be caused by a variety of pain conditions.
Some pain conditions are the result of injury or illness, while others are linked to nerves and physical issues that someone may have from birth. Since there is such a wide spectrum of pain conditions, diagnosing them can be difficult. But there are usually some common symptoms to look for that indicate a larger problem with someone’s pain.
Symptoms of Pain
Since there are many different sources of chronic pain, the symptoms can vary. Naturally, the central indicator of these conditions is persistent pain, but you can also look out for the following symptoms to know if you might be experiencing something more serious than just a temporary ache:
- Throbbing in the limbs
- Sensitivity to temperatures and touch
- Swelling where you feel pain
- Being too sweaty or too cold often
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle spasms, frequent twitches, and tremors
- Decreased flexibility in the area you tend to feel pain
- Sleep problems
- Depression and anxiety
- Headaches and migraines
- Digestive problems
These symptoms may change over time, with some coming and going or getting more severe as chronic pain continues. If you think you may be suffering from a chronic pain condition, then pay attention to your body and write down when some of these symptoms appear. It always helps to have a record of symptoms so that when you are seeking treatment, you can observe trends and triggers related to your body’s pain like weather, diet, and stress.
For those who suffer from chronic pain, getting treatment can sometimes be a challenge. Describing your symptoms to a doctor and understanding them yourself are some of the first hurdles. Knowing where you pain comes from is another. Since pain can be a result of many different things, treatment for chronic pain conditions varies. Consulting with a doctor is the best way to go when looking for long term help managing your symptoms.
Even with that in mind, it is important for all patients to remember that they can seek second opinions and extra resources. Many patients with chronic pain conditions need help with mobility and get a lot of help from extra chairs, canes, and medical technology that helps you to support your body when your pain is at its worst.
For those experiencing severe upswings in their pain, getting emergency treatment can often be a good way to help when they are in need. Try paying attention to the ERs near you and see who can offer services like overnight observations and IV therapy if you find yourself in need.
For patients in our community, New Braunfels ER offers 24/7 emergency care for all ages. Our freestanding emergency room is capable of giving out-patient treatment to people suffering from pain, and our board-certified doctors can even assist in recommending struggling patients to medical facilities for long-term care.
This blog is written by Maggie Berardo, staff member at Nutex Health.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit New Braunfels ER or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.