What do I need to know about chronic pain?

Manage your chronic pain better by dispelling common misconceptions:

Pain always has an underlying cause.
Fact: Pain sometimes travels alone.
Not all chronic pain can be linked to an identifiable physical condition or injury. Sure, that fender bender 3 months ago might have triggered your back pain, or maybe too many hours on the soccer field caused your knee pain. Or maybe not. Sometimes pain develops for no apparent reason. Still, the discomfort is very real. Although it's more difficult to relieve pain without an identifiable cause, you can effectively manage it.

Medication is the only way to relieve chronic pain.
Fact: Pain has many enemies.
When we think pain relief, we often think pills—whether over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, or even stronger and potentially addictive opioids for more severe pain. But pills aren't the only way to manage pain. You can add an array of alternative weapons to your arsenal, including a healthier diet, exercise, sound sleep, and simple self-care remedies.

Chronic pain is an inevitable part of aging.
Fact: Pain can strike at any age.
The notion that you should expect pain as you age—and learn to live with it—is an ongoing myth about growing older. One example: Back pain more commonly strikes middle-age (35- to 50-year-old) adults than any other age group. Whatever your age, talk to your doctor about any chronic aches, pains, or discomfort.

Admitting you're in pain is a sign of weakness.
Fact: Acknowledging your pain is a sign of courage and strength.
It takes courage to accept chronic pain, but doing so is the best first step to treating it. Suffering in silence is no way to cope.

Bed rest is best for reducing chronic pain.
Fact: Moving through the pain helps improve it.
When your knee arthritis, achy hip, or lower-back pain flares up, it's tempting to simply curl up in bed. While your doc may recommend bed rest when pain is especially severe, making it a daily habit will only intensify your discomfort. Even gentle movement or stretching is better for pain relief than grinding to a complete standstill. Plus, regular doctor-approved workouts boost the release of pain-relieving neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.