Friday, 2 October 2020

The Beast That Is Chronic Pain: What Is That Exactly?

 Today's post comes from an excellent and very informative American article from (see link below) concerning the nature of pain. Now readers of this blog will generally only be interested in information that covers neuropathic (nerve) pain but neuropathic pain is rarely the only form of pain you feel when you have nerve damage and most importantly, people living with nerve damage can (and often do) have other pain-causing problems too. It's vital that you can identify the nature of your discomfort - where it comes from and how best to treat it but even seasoned doctors have diagnosis difficulties with neuropathy and identifying whether your pain is acute or chronic, where it stems from and which of the more than 100 forms of neuropathy might be causing it. Believe me, if you've had the same pain problems for more than 2 or 3's chronic! But that's only the beginning of your treatment story when it comes to nerve damage. This article is aimed at an American audience but apart from local and specific other influences, the information applies across the world.What it does is helps you sort out the wheat from the chaff so to speak and helps you understand the nature of your pain, so that you can better concentrate on the right treatment. Well worth a read, for beginning neuropathy patients, pain sufferers and those more experienced who are still floundering in the mass of information that can be thrown at you. Take your time; it's a long article but worth the effort.
Chronic Pain in the US                         John Ryan,  J.Flowers Health Institute,  2020
Chronic pain (long-term pain) affects about 40 million people in the US.
Some sources say the numbers could be as high as 100 million. Beyond the debilitating personal effects, chronic pain costs the US over $600 billion every year.
Pain is a subjective experience. What’s painful to one person might be just a slight discomfort to another. That said, pain that lasts for long periods could be crippling, regardless of its severity.
People in the US report having more pain than people in other countries. 1 in 3 Americans reports that they experience pain “often” or “very often.” In Croatia, the proportion is only 1 in 10 people. This is according to the International Social Survey Program.
In the US, 126.1 million adults had experienced some pain in the past three months. Among them, 10.5 million had experienced severe pain every day.4
In 2013, 178 million Americans aged 18 years and older had at least one painful condition. This was up from 120.2 million in 1997.5

What Is Pain?

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as
“An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”6
In layman’s terms, pain is an experience that causes discomfort. It may be due to an injury or to the brain’s inability to process pain signals properly. Pain may vary in severity, location, and the involvement of body parts.
Some pain may be limited to the area of injury, while some pain may affect the entire body. A headache involves only the head, and a stomachache affects only the belly.
People use different terms to describe their pain. Some of them include:

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