Comprehensive Pain Management
(Formally known as Franklin Pain and Wellness and Warwick Pain)

Attleboro, MA(508) 236-8333
Franklin, MA(508) 507-8818
South Kingstown, RI (401) 234-9677
Warwick, RI(401) 352-0007

Franklin, MA • (508) 507-8818
Warwick, RI • (401) 352-0007
South Kingstown, RI • (401) 234-9677

South Kingstown Pain Center RI Blog

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Risk Factors for Chronic Pain

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 25, 2018
Comprehensive Pain Management - Franklin, MA

There are specific risk factors that predict who may be likely to need pain management in the future.

Chronic pain currently affects about 116 million American adults — that's more than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. But because pain can stem from many different diseases, injuries, and situations, there are many risk factors to consider when predicting who might experience chronic pain and need pain management solutions.

There are three major categories of risk factors for chronic pain:

  • Biological risk factors that stem from your physical characteristics as well as your medical history
  • Psychological risk factors linked to your mood and personality
  • Lifestyle risk factors

Living With Chronic Pain: Biological Risk Factors

These are the leading physical factors that could put you at risk for chronic pain:

  • Old age. As people grow older and as their bodies age, they tend to need more ways to manage pain.
  • Genetics. Some chronic pain conditions like migraines have been linked to genetics. Studies also have found genetic conditions that can make you more sensitive to pain and require more chronic pain management.
  • Race. African-Americans and Hispanics appear to be at greater risk for chronic pain, studies have shown.
  • Obesity. People who carry a lot of extra weight often develop chronic pain due to their poor health. Obesity also can exacerbate medical conditions that require pain management.
  • Previous injury. People who have recovered from a traumatic injury run a greater risk for future chronic pain. The main pain neurotransmitter is released in greater quantities in people who had previous pain problems or previous longstanding psychiatric disorder. It's a startling increase — it can be anywhere from threefold to five fold.

Living With Chronic Pain: Psychological Risk Factors

These factors can also increase your risk of living with chronic pain:

  • Childhood trauma. People who experienced parental neglect or physical or sexual abuse as children are more likely to have chronic pain. These childhood factors play a large role in later developing a chronic pain problem.
  • Mood disorders. People with depression or anxiety disorders have a greater risk of chronic pain. Many brain areas and neurotransmitters that handle pain signals also manage mood.

Living With Chronic Pain: Lifestyle Risk Factors

The way you live your life can put you at risk for chronic pain:

  • Having a high-risk job. People with jobs that require heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity are at greater risk for developing chronic pain.
  • Stress. Chronic pain has been linked to both chronic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Smoking. Smokers are at greater risk for developing medical conditions that lead to the need for chronic pain management. They also are less likely to respond to pain management therapies.

Living With Chronic Pain: Decreasing Your Risk

Becoming more aware of your risk factors can give you an edge in warding off future chronic pain. Preventive steps you can take include:

  • Improve your health. Eat right and exercise to reach a healthy weight and become physically fit.
  • Quit smoking. There are numerous health benefits to quitting, including the potential to avoid future chronic pain management.
  • Manage your stress. Exercise, meditate, or practice another form of stress relief. Seek help for mood disorders.If you have depression or anxiety, get help before your mood disorder leads to chronic pain.
  • Be smart on the job. Take safety precautions to limit your risk of injury. That's part of why work safety issues are really important — a lot of these jobs can be made a lot safer. In construction, people have to wear hard hats because they decrease the risk of head injuries. The same thing may be true for wearing some kind of brace or support when performing a heavy lifting job.

Here's the bottom line: Knowing more about why chronic pain occurs and how to keep it in check may help you avoid this condition. For more information, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in South Kingstown, RI. everydayhealth.com

Treating Chronic Neck Pain

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 11, 2018
Comprehensive Pain Management - South Kingstown, RI

Chronic neck pain is the third most commonly reported type of chronic pain in the U.S. and is one of the most common physical complaints around the world. The pain can be annoying or it can be debilitating—but when you’re experiencing it, chances are it’s pretty much all you can think about.

Causes of Chronic Neck Pain

Your neck can be injured easily because it’s so exposed. Because of this, there are many factors that could cause chronic neck pain. It could be the result of a sudden injury or trauma to the neck or spine, or it could be caused by a constant irritation to your neck, shoulders or upper back. It also could be triggered by certain types of illnesses. Some of the most common causes of chronic neck pain include:

  • Bad sleeping position
  • Bad posture when using a computer
  • Slouching when using a smartphone or tablet
  • Holding your phone between your shoulder and chin while talking
  • Stress
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Disk deterioration in the spine
  • Injury or trauma, like whiplash

Treatment for Your Chronic Neck Pain

Treatment for chronic neck pain varies depending on the cause. Some people can manage with some TLC and lifestyle changes, while others may need advanced treatment, such as surgery. Here are some treatment options that are used to treat chronic neck pain:

  • Rest your neck. Avoid activities that put strain on your neck, like some sports and physical activities.
  • Apply ice and/or heat. Ice reduces swelling, while heat helps relieve muscle stiffness. Ice is generally recommended within 24 hours of an injury occurring, but if your chronic neck pain is caused by inflammation in the discs, perhaps caused by arthritis, ice may be helpful when the pain starts to get worse. Some people use only ice, others only heat, while some alternate ice and heat, both for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation unit, or TENS. A TENS unit is a non-invasive, non-medicinal treatment that uses mild electric currents to interrupt the pain messages sent to your brain.
  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers: To reduce swelling (inflammation) and/or pain.
  • Immobilization: A brace to keep your head steady, keeping the pressure off your neck.
  • Physical therapy/exercises: Physical therapy may help you stretch your neck and build up strength in your neck and shoulders. A physical therapist can also assess your posture, to determine if this is causing your chronic neck pain, and give you exercises to help improve the way you sit and stand.
  • Relaxation exercises. If chronic stress is leading to pain in your neck, relaxation exercises, such as meditation, may help you manage your stress levels so your neck and upper back muscles don’t tighten up.
  • Steroid injections: If your chronic neck pain is caused by arthritis, your doctor may recommend you receive steroid injections into the joints in your neck, to relieve inflammation.
  • Surgery: A last resort, surgery procedure may be recommended if a disc in your neck is pinching a nerve or the discs are compressed together, causing the pain.

Preventing Chronic Neck Pain

It does seem more often that older folks get some sort of chronic neck pain, but it’s not inevitable. You may be able to reduce your risk of neck pain by taking some simple steps, such as:

  • Checking your posture, especially when working in front of a computer or using a smartphone or tablet.
  • Taking frequent breaks if you work at a computer, stretch, and move your neck around to loosen the muscles.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Managing your stress levels.
  • Not carrying heavy purses or bags on one shoulder.
  • Investing in a good pillow that supports your head in a comfortable position.
  • Stopping smoking if you do. Smoking increases the risk of neck pain.

Chronic neck pain isn’t always avoidable, but your lifestyle and habits may contribute to pain if you’re not careful. Take care of your neck and if you do experience pain, speak with your doctor or physical therapist for advice on how to best manage it.

For more informaiton on treating chronic neck pain, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in South Kingstown, RI.

Source: healthgrades.com