How can I make my chronic pain go away?

You have a problem with pain. You’ve seen MDs, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, but nothing has helped long term.

You keep asking yourself:

How can I get relief from my ongoing pain?

Why haven’t over the counter drugs, icing/heat, and/or stretching relieved my symptoms?

I’m frustrated and scared, Now what do I do?

If you feel this way, you are not alone.

I have made it my life’s work to explore evidence-based options regarding the science of pain relief. To help you the best I can, I will offer many tips that will put the power of relief into your hands. I will also share with you some cutting edge solutions that haven’t yet been proven by double-blind studies but that show great promise. Because I will do this work for you, you don’t need to spend endless hours and dollars, figuring out who to listen to and what steps can hope to lead to relief of your condition.

What kind of pain are you dealing with? It is important to know if you have acute or chronic pain. Effective solutions are different for each type.

What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?

Acute pain usually has an obvious cause. The pain is intense at first, but it goes away in less than six months. Here are some examples of events that can trigger acute pain:

  • You slipped and landed hard on your hip, and it aches when you walk.
  • You weren’t warmed up when you ran stair sprints with your Boot Camp class. Now your hamstring hurts when you walk or run.
  • After a fender bender, you’re having headaches, neck, and shoulder pain.
  • Your body hurts after a surgical procedure.
  • You ache after labor and childbirth.
  • You look at a computer screen most of the day, and your neck is stiff and achy.

Chronic pain is pain that has persisted for six months or more and shows no signs of letting up. This kind of pain can continue even after the original cause (whether this is an injury or illness) heals. For some people, the origin of chronic pain is a mystery with no known cause. Pain gets stuck in an endless nervous system loop that can last weeks, months, or even years.

 

Chronic pain is linked to conditions including:

  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Sciatica 
  • Migraine headaches 
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Post-trauma pain
  • Postsurgical pain
  • Neurogenic pain (caused by nerve damage)
  • Muscle aches

These and more can evolve into a state of “chronic pain.” Chronic pain can seem like a hopeless condition. But it doesn’t have to be.

I have found that sometimes the causes of chronic pain can be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. This error occurs because many specialists fail to understand how the body’s various systems relate to each other. Sometimes solutions are straightforward but have been overlooked. Sometimes the puzzle of pain can be very complex and involve many different, seemingly unrelated factors.

Research has proven there are measurable connections between chronic pain and these health challenges:

  • Sleep disturbances – Insomnia [1](1) Finan PH, Goodin BR and Smith MT. The association of sleep and pain: An update and a path forward, National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health [website]. 1 December 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046588/ (accessed December 12, 2019).

  • Systemic Inflammation [2](2) Paul Ingram. Chronic, Subtle, Systemic Inflammation One possible sneaky cause of puzzling chronic pain, Pain Science [website]. 13 December 2019, https://www.painscience.com/articles/inflammation-chronic-subtle-systemic.php#ref10 (accessed December 14, 2019)

  • Nutritional deficiencies [3](3) Kathryn R. Martin and David M. Reid. Is there a role for vitamin D in the treatment of chronic pain? National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health [website]. 9 May 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466150/ (accessed December 14, 2019)

  • Hormone imbalances [4] (4) Hormone Testing Helps Bring Chronic Pain Sufferers Using Long-Term Opioids Back into Balance, Explore three opioid-induced endocrine imbalances. Cleveland Clinic [website]. 6 July 2017, https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/hormone-testing-helps-bring-chronic-pain-sufferers-using-long-term-opioids-back-into-balance/ (accessed December 14, 2019)
  • Infections – bacterial and viral, i.e.,Lyme disease, kidney infections, etc. [5](5) Lei Huang, Rong Ou, Guilherme Rabelo de Souza, Thiago M. Cunha, Henrique Lemos, Eslam Mohamed, Lingqian Li, Gabriela Pacholczyk, Janice Randall, David H. Munn, and Andrew L. Mellor, Benhur Lee, Editor. Virus Infections Incite Pain Hypersensitivity by Inducing Indoleamine 2,3 Dioxygenase, National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health [website]. 11 May 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Rabelo%20de%20Souza%20G%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=27168185 (accessed December 14, 2019)

  • Parasite infestation [6](6) Omran EKh, Mohammad AN. INTESTINAL PARASITES IN PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC ABDOMINAL PAIN, National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health [website]. August 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26485858 (accessed December 14, 2019)

  • Systemic Disease, i.e., autoimmune: diabetes, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, etc. [7](7) Forest Tennant, MD. Editor’s Memo: Inflammatory Disease—Time to Refine Our Diagnoses, Practical Pain Management [Website}. March 2013.https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/pain/myofascial/autoimmune/editors-memo-inflammatory-disease-time-refine-our-diagnoses (accessed December 14, 2019)

  • Chronic stress/Traumatic Stress [8] (8) David Spero. How Trauma Can Lead to Chronic Pain and What to Do About It, Pain-Free Living Your Guild to Living a Healthier Life [website]. 19 July 2017. https://www.painfreelivinglife.com/tools-chronic-pain/emotional-health/trauma-can-lead-chronic-pain/ (accessed December 14, 2019)
    • A history of traumatic injuries
    • Trauma/PTSD
    • Brain Injuries
    • Mental illness – i.e., depression,
    • anxiety, etc.
    • Poverty
    • Adverse childhood experiences
    • Substance addiction
  • Lifestyle risk factors [9] (9) Oliver van Hecke, Nicola Torrance, and Blair H Smith. Chronic pain epidemiology – where do lifestyle factors fit in? British Journal of Pain. November 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590163/ (accessed December 14, 2019)
    • Overtraining
    • Smoking
    • Obesity
    • Dangerous professions, such as police, firefighter, lumberjack, etc.
    • Too much input, not enough downtime—overstimulation
    • Lack of rest/sleep
    • Poor posture, bad ergonomics with electronic devices
    • Lack of movement
  • Trigger Points/myofascial pain syndrome (small, gnarly spots in your muscles ) [10] (10) DAVID J. ALVAREZ, D.O., and PAMELA G. ROCKWELL, D.O. Trigger Points: Diagnosis and Management. American Academy of Family Physicians [website]. 15 February 2002. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0215/p653.html (accessed December 16, 2019)
  • Adhesions (when your tissue sticks together) [11](11) Adhesions, General and After Surgery. Web M.D. [website]. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/adhesion-general-post-surgery#1 (accessed December 16, 2019)

How does this relate to my condition?

Maybe your current shoulder pain, caused when you jerked something heavy, is also related to your diabetes and poor ergonomics – or both. Pain symptoms don’t always have the same cause even if the pain feels the same and is in the same location.

The trick is to figure out what is causing the pain, and what approach or approaches are best to resolve the issue—not for just temporary relief. Too often, I see clients who have been treated by practitioners who believe that their skill set will help every health challenge. But no doctor, allopathic or alternative, has all the answers for everyone.

I will show you how to be a self-advocate in your path towards freedom from pain so you can get back your pain-free life. Your self-advocacy skills will include how to find the right practitioner(s) for your condition and how to find out if they can help you with this. Also, whenever possible, I’ll show you how you can help yourself get well on your own.

Please know I have found that helping with complex conditions usually takes more than one approach. In all cases, getting your life back will require a commitment of time and focus and, in many cases, will require significant but doable changes to your lifestyle.

Stay tuned for in-depth articles that explore the origins and solutions to many common acute and chronic pain issues. I will post these regularly and I look forward to your comments and feedback.

If you would like to know more about a specific pain issue, please send me a request through email, social media, or as a comment after one of my articles.

 

Notes

(Back to text)1 (1) Finan PH, Goodin BR and Smith MT. The association of sleep and pain: An update and a path forward, National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health [website]. 1 December 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046588/ (accessed December 12, 2019).

(Back to text)2 (2) Paul Ingram. Chronic, Subtle, Systemic Inflammation One possible sneaky cause of puzzling chronic pain, Pain Science [website]. 13 December 2019, https://www.painscience.com/articles/inflammation-chronic-subtle-systemic.php#ref10 (accessed December 14, 2019)

(Back to text)3 (3) Kathryn R. Martin and David M. Reid. Is there a role for vitamin D in the treatment of chronic pain? National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health [website]. 9 May 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466150/ (accessed December 14, 2019)

(Back to text)4 (4) Hormone Testing Helps Bring Chronic Pain Sufferers Using Long-Term Opioids Back into Balance, Explore three opioid-induced endocrine imbalances. Cleveland Clinic [website]. 6 July 2017, https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/hormone-testing-helps-bring-chronic-pain-sufferers-using-long-term-opioids-back-into-balance/ (accessed December 14, 2019)
(Back to text)5 (5) Lei Huang, Rong Ou, Guilherme Rabelo de Souza, Thiago M. Cunha, Henrique Lemos, Eslam Mohamed, Lingqian Li, Gabriela Pacholczyk, Janice Randall, David H. Munn, and Andrew L. Mellor, Benhur Lee, Editor. Virus Infections Incite Pain Hypersensitivity by Inducing Indoleamine 2,3 Dioxygenase, National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health [website]. 11 May 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Rabelo%20de%20Souza%20G%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=27168185 (accessed December 14, 2019)

(Back to text)6 (6) Omran EKh, Mohammad AN. INTESTINAL PARASITES IN PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC ABDOMINAL PAIN, National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health [website]. August 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26485858 (accessed December 14, 2019)

(Back to text)7 (7) Forest Tennant, MD. Editor’s Memo: Inflammatory Disease—Time to Refine Our Diagnoses, Practical Pain Management [Website}. March 2013.https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/pain/myofascial/autoimmune/editors-memo-inflammatory-disease-time-refine-our-diagnoses (accessed December 14, 2019)

(Back to text)8 (8) David Spero. How Trauma Can Lead to Chronic Pain and What to Do About It, Pain-Free Living Your Guild to Living a Healthier Life [website]. 19 July 2017. https://www.painfreelivinglife.com/tools-chronic-pain/emotional-health/trauma-can-lead-chronic-pain/ (accessed December 14, 2019)
(Back to text)9  (9) Oliver van Hecke, Nicola Torrance, and Blair H Smith. Chronic pain epidemiology – where do lifestyle factors fit in? British Journal of Pain. November 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590163/ (accessed December 14, 2019)
(Back to text)10  (10) DAVID J. ALVAREZ, D.O., and PAMELA G. ROCKWELL, D.O. Trigger Points: Diagnosis and Management. American Academy of Family Physicians [website]. 15 February 2002. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0215/p653.html (accessed December 16, 2019)
(Back to text)11 (11) Adhesions, General and After Surgery. Web M.D. [website]. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/adhesion-general-post-surgery#1 (accessed December 16, 2019)

Share This