Ask the Expert: Pain Inhibits Your Everyday Life—Here’s How We Can Help
Every year, nearly half of the American population consults a physician with a primary complaint of pain. Taking this into account, as well as pain being the number one reason for physician consultation in the nation, it should hardly come as a surprise that it is considered one of the most significant healthcare crises in the United States.
It is extremely, and sometimes unbearably, difficult to go through the motions of everyday life when obvious discomfort or pain is occurring in the body. With an injury, everyday tasks that were once performed with ease, take a significant amount of time, effort, and sometimes even assistance to complete.
Pain not only causes discomfort physically, but can also take a toll mentally. Whether the pain is the result of an old injury, is brand-new, or has been there for a long time, it intrudes on your muscle memory and creates changes in your daily lifestyle and routine tasks. This is frustrating and leads to emotional and mental implications like stress and anxiety, while also negatively impacting external factors such as relationships and career tasks.
The daily and long-term consequences associated with pain are taxing, as well as incredibly disruptive. Thankfully, there are several ways to treat all of these types of pain. Even better, many options do not require the expensive and invasive nature of surgery.
Chronic Pain vs. Acute Injury Pain – Where does your pain fall in the spectrum?
Both chronic and pain from an acute injury have different measures that can be taken to regain comfort in everyday life. Beatty Harris Sports Medicine, located in multiple locations in the Philadelphia area, offers many avenues to identify the cause of pain and the best way to treat it.
Sports Medicine Isn’t Just for Athletes – Learn more.
Pain is sometimes challenging to understand because it ranges in severity. It can be local or diffuse, acute or chronic. Diffuse pain refers to pain that is experienced in more than one location in the body or over a large area. Localized pain exists in only one part of the body, restricted to one specific area.
Acute pain, which can be the result of an injury, comes on suddenly and can often be narrowed to a particular incident or moment when it occurred. It is sharp in quality, does not last longer than six months, and goes away when there is no longer an underlying cause for the pain.
In contrast, chronic pain is pain that has lasted six months or longer as the pain signals in the body remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or even years. It continues even after the body has fully healed from the traumatic event that caused the pain in the first place. Chronic pain is sometimes described by patients as pain without injury or “pain for no reason.” Although that may seem like the case, acute injuries can result in chronic pain where perhaps the initial injury happened years ago. It is best to see a sports medicine physician to help determine an accurate diagnosis.
The cause of injury pain can be multifactorial. Various examples of these causes of injury pain include traumatic events to the body. Some examples could be broken bones or injured soft tissue that can cause knee pain, back pain, ankle pain, foot pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and more. Burns, lacerations, dental work, labor, and childbirth can be other causes of pain. Pain from surgery is also very common.
In comparison, chronic pain is a much more prevalent, ongoing condition that lasts beyond injury. It is sometimes challenging to self-diagnose the difference – for example acute joint pain vs. chronic arthritis. Again, for the best chance at a full and speedy recovery, it is best to see a certified sports medicine physician for not only the correct diagnosis but also an appropriate treatment plan.
How Pain Impacts Physical and Mental Health
Ongoing pain can have a serious impact on the body and its stress levels. The stress that results from dealing with chronic pain often affects the body past the physical pain epicenter, extending into producing conditions like tension in muscles, inhibited ability to move with ease, lack of energy, and increases or decreases in appetite.
Additionally, the impacts that pain has on health are not limited to just the physical effects felt by the body. Mental effects brought on by physical pain are real and extremely prevalent.
According to a study by the World Health Organization, individuals who live with persistent pain are four times more likely than those without pain to suffer from depression or anxiety, and more than twice as likely to have difficulty working.
Living with daily pain can disrupt your regular routine and limit one’s ability to get things done; two things that cause anyone immense amounts of frustration and stress. Additionally, persistent pain can also perpetuate anxiety and fear of reinjury. Being overly cautious after an injury has healed limits the ability to return to work, or even simply enjoy leisure activities.
Personal factors, relationships, career tasks, and daily life activities are all impacted by the presence of pain. Things that once brought joy, like exercising or participating in recreational activities, turn into difficult tasks or are not worth the extra pain. Not being able to participate in fulfilling activities often leads to inactivity, weight gain, sadness, and depression. The once manageable amount of time, energy, and attention allotted to everyday tasks diminishes.
How to Treat Pain: Pain Diagnosis to Treatment
You might be asking, “How do I treat pain without the use of drugs or surgery?” Strong, potentially addictive medication and invasive surgery are not the only way to manage your pain. Having your condition evaluated by a specialist and properly diagnosed can open up several different treatment options for pain management and recovery.
When it comes to pain and diagnosing its cause, your first step should be consulting a sports medicine physician. Specializing in both the treatment and prevention of illness and injury, sports medicine physicians are expertly qualified to identify and treat the source of your pain.
The opinion of a licensed and educated physician (versus personal, non-expert opinions) is crucial to decide, for example, whether it is appropriate to continue working through pain or if time off is necessary for proper healing. The idea that “masking one’s pain” will lead to the eventual resolution of the pain is not only a myth, but can also be very dangerous. Having the correct diagnosis will lead to appropriate treatment and the best chance at a full recovery.
Aside from esteemed medical degrees, some sports medicine doctors (like those at Beatty Harris Sports Medicine) also have the equipment to aid in correctly diagnosing the problem behind pain. Ultrasound has come to play a key role in identifying the source of pain and is used as a guide in treatment through ultrasound-guided injections and procedures.
As a non-surgical clinic, the doctors at Beatty Harris Sports Medicine strive to provide comprehensive treatment that avoids surgery when possible. In addition to the high cost, surgeries are incredibly invasive and often require long recovery times which can lead to long work absences and significant time away from extracurricular activities.
There are many new and innovative strategies developed for dealing with pain. For example, PRP, Tenex, Amino, and shock wave therapy, all offered by Beatty Harris Sports Medicine, are some of the non-surgical options available in the treatment of different causes of pain. Let’s break it all down:
PRP: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are revolutionary in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions to accelerate the healing process.
Tenex: A nonsurgical alternative that removes scar tissue in chronic tendon injuries in all areas of the body. (ie. calcific tendinitis, achilles tendinitis, Tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff injuries and more)
Amnio Injection: A liquid allograft containing growth factors that work in conjunction with the body’s natural ability to heal which aids in and accelerates the healing of tissue.
Shock Wave Therapy: The acoustic delivery of sound waves to the injury spot helps reduce pain in the area and promote the healing process.
Additionally, your sports medicine doctor can recommend focused exercises and physical therapy to improve and eliminate acute and chronic pain. It’s important to stress that the way an injury is treated should solely stem from an expert’s opinion, preferably the one of a sports medicine physician.
Physicians like those at Beatty Harris Sports Medicine are more than equipped with the compassion, knowledge, and passion for their craft to help you reach your physical activity and exercise goals. All it takes is reaching out on your part! Go to the Beatty Harris Sports Medicine website to learn more and book an appointment with a specialist.
ABOUT Beatty Harris Sports Medicine
Beatty Harris Sports Medicine, a boutique nonsurgical sports medicine practice, has locations close to you in Philadelphia, Newtown Square, and Cherry Hill. Physicians Dr. Tricia Beatty, Dr. Allen Harris, and Dr. Vincent Marchese (Main Line Today 2021 Top Docs) are experts in the innovative treatment of both acute injuries and chronic painful conditions.
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