Five Surprising Facts About Chronic Pain

treatment for chronic painChronic pain plagues millions of people all over the U.S. and around the world. In fact, 50-75 million Americans live with chronic pain on a day-to-day basis. In some cases, the pain is mild enough that it responds to over-the-counter medications. For others, however, chronic pain can be completely debilitating, ultimately affecting quality of life. Although many people are familiar with the causes and treatments for recurrent pain, there are some facts that may be surprising:

1.      The secret to pain relief may be in your diet.

Chronic pain is often caused by inflammation — a condition treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and over-the-counter medications. But if you are chronically plagued by the condition, you may need less ibuprofen and more fatty fish and cherries. These foods, along with ginger and turmeric, are known for being anti-inflammatory, and research has shown that ingesting more of these foods may help relieve pain.

2.      A good massage goes a long way.

You may associate massage therapy with luxury treatments for your birthday or Mother’s Day. But there are plenty of guilt-free reasons to head to the spa for a good massage more than once a year. Massage therapy is especially beneficial for health and has been shown to aid in chronic pain relief. There are many types of massages, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage and acupressure. Some patients experience relief in as little as two or three sessions, while others require several weeks of twice-weekly treatments to experience benefits.

3.     There are about 50 commonly prescribed pain medications.

Nearly everyone knows that acetaminophen, ibuprofen and hydrocodone are commonly prescribed pain medications, but the truth is that there are actually about 50 types; each of which performs differently within the body. The type of pain medication prescribed depends on the source and severity of your pain, so it is important to talk to your doctor in great detail about the types of symptoms you have been experiencing.

4.      Think twice before getting steroid injections.

Cortisone joint injections have long been a preferred method for treating chronic joint pain. However, research is beginning to show that steroids may not help, but rather hinder the healing process. In the short term, cortisone may help alleviate pain when an injury is relatively new. But after a year, research has shown that patients who undergo steroid injections for pain may be lagging in recovery compared to patients who did not get the steroid injections.

5.      Standing up to chronic pain doesn’t mean “pushing through.”

Too often, women take on a full load plus the responsibilities of others. In the midst of their work, they attempt to maintain a healthy lifestyle and work out on a regular basis. If your motivation has a tendency to supersede your pain, start setting limits and sticking to them. When your body is in pain, it is telling you something is wrong. Exceeding your limits could be doing more damage than good, especially when it comes to joint pain. Instead, engage in exercises that compensate for your weaknesses, such as swimming or bike riding instead of running or kick boxing. You’ll still get the work-out you are looking for, and your body will thank you.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not, nor is it ever intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice or professional recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician(s) or other qualified healthcare provider(s).

Allison Westbrook is a writer and blogger who enjoys helping others learn how to live the healthiest version of their lives as possible. When not writing, she can be found traveling and spending time with her husband and two children. For more information about pain management, visit the online Pain Health Center at

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