Maintaining your dynamic lifestyle while trying to manage chronic pain can be an overwhelming challenge. A busy social schedule, a hectic workweek, and simple chores around the house can seem like insurmountable tasks when dealing with chronic pain. The activities that make up your routine, from gardening to walking the dog, become a test of your tolerance for pain and constant discomfort.
The American Academy of Pain Medicine states that pain is the number one reason that Americans utilize the health care system and chronic pain accounts for more visits than cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined, making chronic pain the largest contributor of healthcare costs in the United States.
Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability and this requires that safe, long term solutions can be found to treat and manage pain.
Lower back pain accounts for the majority of job-related disability and is experienced by 80 percent of adults at some time during their lifetime.
And when you consider that in a Voices of Pain Survey, almost two-thirds (59%) reported an impact on their overall enjoyment of life, more than three quarters of patients (77%) reported feeling depressed, 70% said they have trouble concentrating 74% said their energy level is impacted by their pain and 86% reported an inability to sleep well, finding safe, reliable, pain management solutions is crucial.
Given all the statistics, Americans remain undertreated by physicians. In a 2010 article by TIME magazine doctors cited the potential of overdose, addiction, and abuse by patients as the leading factors medical professionals undertreat pain.
Though it may not be realistic to expect to be completely pain free, reducing discomfort without impeding the activities in your daily life is the goal of many coping with chronic pain on a daily basis.
For those who suffer from chronic pain, the remedies for managing that pain can vary. Most people have a “toolkit” of options and coping mechanisms to control and reduce their pain and each person has their bag of tricks that work such as:
- Hot baths
- Prescription and over-the-counter pain medicine
- Heating pads
- Chemical rubs and creams
- Controlled deep breathing
- Positive imagery and meditation
- TENS units (Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation)
While all of these options may be effective, some may have side effects that restrict daily activities and some may simply prove to be time consuming and inconvenient when dealing with a busy schedule.
Hot baths are time consuming and limit your ability to carry out other activities in your day. The same is true for heating pads, which require you to remain sedentary.
Over-the-counter drugs like Ibuprofen (NSAID), while helpful can have harmful side affects and cause hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and dizziness, just to name a few.
Prescription pain medication requires a visit with your physician and can be costly, as well. Prescription pain medicine may also have side effects that limit your ability to function fully throughout your day. In addition, many pain sufferers fear addiction and dependence on prescription drugs and would prefer a more natural solution to coping with chronic pain.
Drugstore chemical rubs and creams are easy to buy and use but can be costly over time and can take their toll on your wardrobe! The smell and inconvenience of needing to apply often also contribute to their inconvenience.
Controlled breathing, meditation and positive imagery are good drug-free options but they could take valuable time away from family, friends and the active lifestyle you’ve come to enjoy.
There’s a proven therapy often used by physical therapists that you can get without a prescription called TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) It offers a practical solution to your everyday chronic pain management needs because it’s portable and possibly lessens the need for excessive pain medication.
In addition to your pain management solutions, TENS therapy offers a drug-free, natural pain relief alternative that can be used in addition to your pain management regime without cramping your style.
New over-the-counter devices such as Omron’s Max Power Relief can be purchased at most CVS and Walgreen’s stores and offers the most powerful unit available at retail stores without a prescription.