Management of Chronic Pain
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Dealing with Chronic Physical Pain and Niggles

Published on Mar 20, 2015 and last reviewed on Nov 29, 2022   -  4 min read


Pain is a debilitating symptom, which is often neglected and has devastating consequences. The following article deals with common causes of pain and its management.

Dealing with Chronic Physical Pain and Niggles

What Is Pain?

Pain is a protective mechanism. It warns one of the imminent, dormant, and potential dangers. However, chronic physical pain can be disabling and limits one's functional capacity. It is an unpleasant physical sensation that can be felt in the body due to an injury or illness. These unpleasant sensations are transmitted to the brain through sensory neurons.

What Is the Nature of Pain?

Pain is an alarming signal that alerts you that something is wrong inside the body. It can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. The nature of pain can be steady, sharp, stabbing, throbbing, aching, pinching, etc.

What Are the Symptoms of Pain?

Intense or damaging stimuli cause the pain. It can show:

Physical symptoms like,

  • Nausea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Weakness.
  • Drowsiness.

Emotional effects like,

What Are the Types of Pain?

The pain can fit into one or more than one in this category, they are:

  • Acute pain.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Radicular pain.
  • Neuropathic pain.
  • Nociceptive pain.

Several study designs and research methodologies revealed that women are more prone to pain than men. Those over 45 years are particularly prone to various chronic physical pains. Unfortunately, this becomes ''routine'', and people tend to ignore the trivial symptoms. More often than not, it starts as a minor niggle, which, when neglected, assumes a more debilitating picture.

Which Type of Pain Needs to Be Treated?

"Physical pain that does not reduce even after two weeks of taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications should not be neglected. This can prove to be fatal."

Who Is More Prone to Get Chronic Pain?

The elderly populations are more prone to falls due to the unsteadiness in their gait because of old age diseases like Parkinson's, idiopathic orthostatic hypotension, also known as a postural drop in blood pressure. Variation in blood pressure can happen with different body postures. Therefore people are more prone to drop when they assume a standing position from a supine position. These falls can cause chronic physical pains.

How to Improve Pain Management?

Pain can be due to various reasons depending on the cause; therefore, people will have different and more than one type of pain. Pain is not always constant, and it may change over the day by various activities; therefore, it may take more than one type of analgesia to control it. Changing the method of delivery of pain medication can improve its effectiveness. For example, oral medications can be changed to a patch or a subcutaneous pain pump.

What Is Debilitating Pain?

Debilitating pain is the severe pain that causes serious impairment of strength or ability to function.

Chronic pain can lead to:

Decreased Activity ---> Negative Emotions ---> Avoidance or Withdrawal ---> Disability or Distress.

Sequelae of Debilitating Pain:

  • Debilitating pains often lead to secondary depression and adjustment disorders.
  • These manifest as spontaneous crying spells, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, inability to focus at work, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and in some cases, thoughts about death and suicide.
  • The other population that is especially prone to pain is that of terminal cancer patients. These individuals are likely to be suffering from secondary depression, given the gravity of their diagnosis and the prognosis of their disease.

Management of Chronic Pain:

There are various treatment options for pain regardless of its type:

  • A typical pain clinic has a psychiatrist, a neurosurgeon, an anesthetist, and a physiatrist. Pain management needs cross-consultations across clinical specialties, and patients would benefit from a holistic approach.
  • Anesthetists and psychiatrists play a significant role in these patients by relieving their pain through ''nerve blocks'', counseling, and prescribing medications for pain management and depression.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications can help to relieve symptoms. The healthcare provider or the physician may give nerve-blocking injections to manage pain. These injections will block the nerve's pain receptors, thereby providing relief from pain.
  • Ketamine infusions can help to block pain receptors in the body.
  • Combining opioids (both weak and strong) can also work as pain-relieving medications.
  • Ultrasound is proven to alleviate joint pain.
  • Radiofrequency ablation can destroy the pain-causing nerve roots.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all treatment in the management of chronic physical pain.
  • The common pharmacological agents used in pain management include Gabapentin, Pregabalin, tricyclic antidepressants like Amitriptyline and Nortriptyline.
  • Non-pharmacological interventions include CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), counseling, therapeutic defocusing, and a special form of therapy called reattribution therapy, used in clients with Somatoform Pain Disorder.

Somatoform Pain Disorder frequently masquerades as chronic physical pain and often goes unnoticed or is misdiagnosed. Primary care physicians need to recognize this clinical entity and liaise with psychiatrists for appropriate management.

What Are the Natural Methods to Get Relief From Pain?

The natural methods to manage pain include:

  • Reducing stress because stress is a silent killer, and it can aggravate the existing pain.
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet and avoid inflammation-causing foods.
  • Enough amount of sleep can allow necessary healing by putting the power of your body and mind.
  • Exercise more can create an endorphin rush in the body, which helps with managing pain.
  • Increase endorphins, a natural chemical released by the body to help you forget about your pain.
  • Using heat therapy can help soothe and relax the sore muscles, joints, and other areas with pain.
  • Enjoy hot Epsom salt baths, which is another method of heat therapy.
  • Taking turmeric can reduce inflammation and help reduce chronic pain.
  • Take omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics in the diet to reduce inflammation.
  • Schedule an appointment with an acupuncturist.


Chronic pain can be debilitating, but it does not mean that you cannot get relieved from it. Natural methods of managing pain can help you to some extent. Try them but do not trust them always. Visit your healthcare provider or your family physician to know the reason for your pain and treat them promptly.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to Deal With Constant Physical Pain?

To deal with constant physical pain, one has to learn ways to cope with it and strive to achieve complete resolution of the condition. For example, people with persistent pain can learn deep breathing techniques to reduce stress levels. Natural pain management methods can also be tried to deal with the pain.


What May Happen in Case of Chronic Pain?

Certain conditions, such as arthritis and cancer, can present with constant pain. In addition, specific injuries can also present with chronic pain. Besides physical strain, chronic stress can also put a person under severe mental stress.


How to Deal With Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain can be handled by dealing with the stress that comes along with it. Maintaining good sleep and diet can be helpful too. The underlying cause of chronic pain should be addressed at the earliest.


Is Chronic Pain a Disability?

Long-standing or chronic pain may not be considered a liability. Though not considered a disability, it can still be disabling. However, it cannot be classified as a disability until it meets some criteria.


Can Chronic Pain Affect the Life Expectancy of a Person?

Yes, chronic pain can shorten the life expectancy of a person. The underlying cause of chronic pain, such as cancer, can directly affect the person's life expectancy. Life expectancy can also be affected due to mental stress and anxiety that may be caused due to chronic physical pain.


Can Chronic Pain Cause Constant Fatigue?

Constant pain when trying to cure can cause the constant fatigue. This is primarily associated with stress that may be related to chronic pain. In addition, chronic pain can affect a person's sleep cycle, leading to constant fatigue.


Is Chronic Pain Associated With Uncontrollable Anger?

Chronic pain can cause extreme mood swings. This is associated with the inability to control the situation. Anxiety levels are closely related to pain perception. A person could be more anxious when the pain levels are high and vice versa. Anger is one of the outward expressions of anxiety.


What Is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

CPS (chronic pain syndrome) is a physical and mental condition. People with these condition experience abnormalities related to their nerves. This may perceive pain differently. As a result, CPS requires medical care and attention.


What Is Stress-Pain Connection?

Stress and pain are closely linked to each other. A person experiencing anxiety or stress may experience tension in the body. This may present itself as pain in various parts of the body. Stress may typically manifest as headaches and tense shoulders.


Can Chronic Pain Be Treated?

The treatment of chronic pain is complex. The treatment deems a multidisciplinary approach. The mental effects of chronic pain should be addressed. A combination of medications and therapies will be best suited to treat chronic pain.

Last reviewed at:
29 Nov 2022  -  4 min read




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