How do you define chronic pain? Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. The pain can become progressively worse and reoccur intermittently, outlasting the usual healing process. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable.
According to New Life Outlook – There are different types of pain, and pain might come from various parts of your body:
- Somatic pain. Pain from your skin and soft tissues.
- Visceral pain. Pain from your internal organs.
- Bone pain. For example, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis.
- Neuropathy. Examples include peripheral neuropathy, proximal neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy.
- Vascular Pain. Pain caused by circulatory issues.
The conditions and symptoms that fall under the umbrella of chronic pain syndrome are vast, from fibromyalgia to rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.
An article on the NHS Choices website back in June 2016, said that “Almost half the adult population is living with chronic pain,” with 28 million adults in the UK affected by some type of chronic pain.
With an ageing population, it is likely that the prevalence of chronic pain will increase and the need for pain management and relief will grow.
To cope with this demand it is essential that pain specialists, pain organizations and health commissioning groups work constructively to improve the provision of chronic pain services across the UK.
The NHS says the old-fashioned treatment for persistent pain, also known as chronic pain, was bed rest for weeks or months on end. We now know this is the worst possible approach. Exercise and continuing to work are key to recovery. Lying in bed for long periods may actually make the pain last longer because inactivity makes you stiffen up, your muscles and bones get weaker, you don’t sleep well, you become lonely and depressed, and the pain feels worse.
We understand the new way of thinking that if you don’t use it you will lose it but for the elderly (my Dad is 93) the moving around can be extremely painful and debilitating and the resources are not available to look after and check every elderly patient with chronic pain.
They say try to be active every day, instead of only on the good days when you’re not in so much pain. This may reduce the number of bad days you have and help you feel more in control. I personally work on this principle but I think my Dad would say he never has a good enough day to be as active as they would like him to be.
I guess with the ageing population the percentage of people in chronic pain will be higher every year but out of that list, a majority will be treated and helped with their pain in an appropriate manner, but some (in particular the elderly) will not be pain-free for long.