7 Common Myths About Chronic Pain Debunked

 7 Common Myths About Chronic Pain Debunked

No one wants to live with pain. But it can become even worse when the symptoms become chronic, which is a problem that affects nearly 30% of American adults.

When discussing pain, it’s important to explain the difference between acute and chronic symptoms. Generally speaking, acute pain is what you usually feel when you hurt yourself, and it goes away once your injury heals. As a result, figuring out the cause of your symptoms is usually straightforward. Perhaps you cut yourself, broke a bone, or had surgery.

Chronic pain, on the other hand, usually lasts longer than six months and persists even without signs of injury or illness. This can add complexity to determining what exactly is to blame for the symptoms. And, unfortunately, this complexity has fueled countless misconceptions about the condition.

Our board-certified doctors at Valley Pain Centers have seen firsthand how chronic pain can take a toll on people and their families. In this blog, they share seven common myths about chronic pain.

Myth 1: Chronic pain means you have an injury

Unlike acute pain, chronic pain occurs because of overly active pain signals in the nervous system. Over time, the increased nerve activity changes how your brain reacts, leading it to become overly sensitive to the pain signals. In response, you can experience discomfort from the slightest movement.

These changes in nerve activity can get triggered by an injury or develop without an apparent cause. 

Myth 2: Chronic pain is “in your head”

Unfortunately, too many people associate pain with physical damage. Unfortunately, it’s common for people with chronic pain to have normal medical tests, including MRIs and X-rays, giving rise to the rumor that their symptoms are “all in their head.” 

Conditions associated with chronic pain include:

Whether you have acute or chronic pain, you’re feeling real sensations that require expert care. 

Myth 3: Pain is a normal part of aging

To start, anyone can experience chronic pain at any age, so you shouldn’t use your birthday as a frame of reference when considering treatment. Similarly, it’s no secret that aging causes changes in the body, but that doesn’t mean you should accept pain as your new “normal” with each passing year.

Instead, if you start experiencing pain on a regular basis, seek expert care, regardless of your age. Not only can seeking treatment improve your quality of life, but it can often keep pain conditions from worsening.

Myth 4: Not moving makes chronic pain better

It’s a natural response to stop moving when something hurts, but this approach actually works against you when you have chronic pain. 

Physical activity offers numerous benefits when you live with chronic pain. First, engaging in light to moderate exercise helps improve oxygen and blood flow to your muscles. But it doesn’t stop there. Exercise is also a natural pain reliever and mood booster known to help with depression and anxiety — two conditions people living with chronic pain often experience.

Myth 5: Taking pain medication makes you a drug addict

Taking pain medications for chronic pain doesn’t make you an addict. All medications come with certain risks and side effects, but experienced pain management specialists like ours work closely with the people in our care to ensure they receive the proper treatment and dosage for the right amount of time.

Myth 6: You need to toughen up and live with the pain

There’s nothing more frustrating than hearing that you need to toughen up and live with it when you have chronic pain. As we mentioned above, chronic pain is a real problem, and “learning to live with it” can cause more harm than good.

In fact, taking this approach can actually worsen pain and cause unhealthy outcomes, such as engaging in self-medication. Furthermore, not getting help can increase the risk of engaging in suicidal behaviors.

Myth 7: Medication is the only answer for chronic pain

While medications can play a role in pain management, our team at Valley Pain Centers offers a wide variety of treatments that can help control your symptoms and restore your quality of life, including:

We could also recommend these treatments in combination with other pain management strategies, such as chiropractic care, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and counseling.

At Valley Pain Centers, with two convenient Arizona locations in Phoenix and Peoria, you are never a number. Your consultation, examination, and treatment are always administered by a highly qualified physician. We have experienced physicians who can help you, including Patricia Henthorn, DC, DAAMUAP, and Norvan Vartevan, DO. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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