It has become assimilated with our views of modern society: The individual hunched over a computer in an indoor setting, stress being put on the lower back and the glare of the screen intruding on his or her vision, eyes squinting, a headache forming.
Chronic pain is systemic within our society according to a survey done by the National Institute of Health. In that survey, 27% of Americans said lower back pain was their number one type of pain, followed by headaches or migraines at 15%. And over 76 million Americans, or 26% of Americans aged 20 years or older, report having a problem with pain that persisted for over 24 hours.
Although people may say ‘just get over it,’ chronic pain has a toll on those individuals and hence the economy. Here are the statistics:
- The annual cost of chronic pain in the United States is estimated to be $100 billion.
- This includes not just healthcare expenses but lost income and lost productivity.
Chronic pain can lead someone to feel powerless (51%), have loss of enjoyment in life (59%), become depressed (77%), have trouble concentrating (70%), have their energy level impacted (74%), and affect their ability to sleep (86%). One of the culprits of chronic pain may surprise you.
Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the nerves in the brain (another term is brain neuropathy), which can cause anything from painful cramps to muscle loss and even bone degeneration. More specific types such as motor neuropathy can cause dizziness and loss of balance, while sensory neuropathy can cause tingling and a burning sensation.
Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by illnesses such as diabetes or leprosy, vitamin deficiency, excessive alcohol consumption, and even medication. It’s important when considering your pain to choose the right path to figuring out what may be causing the pain. Here are some questions to ask.
What lifestyle factors could be contributing to your pain?
As was touched on in the earlier paragraph, there are certain lifestyle factors that could be contributing (not causing) to your chronic pain. Finding the right mattress for your sleep needs, getting standing desk, and even cutting off the electronic devices a little each day may have an effect on your general well-being.
Where should I start my search in finding the right medical practitioner?
It’s easy to jump to conclusions by reading some (mis)information online about particular conditions. Still, if you’re having chronic ailments like chronic back pain, chronic knee pain, and chronic migraines, consider making an appointment with a doctor.
If you’re looking for an initial overview and advice, a general practitioner may be a good start in your search. Look at your insurance and search for one that is near you and available. Have as much information as possible ready before you go.
If you feel like you might have more complex conditions like peripheral neuropathy or your doctor cannot find a quick cause, you may be referred to a specialist.