Chronic pain (Pain lasting more than 3 months)
Chronic pain is a complex and frustrating condition that curtails your activities and affects your quality of life. Our chronic pain consultants are qualified Chiropractors who use a unique whole-person approach to ease your symptoms and reduce pain’s impact on your life.
What is chronic pain?
Pain usually happens in response to an injury or illness then disappears when the original problem has healed.
Chronic pain, however, doesn’t go away. It lasts long after the original problem has been resolved. Chronic pain is a complex condition. It may cause mild or severe symptoms that are experienced on most days of the week. It is often neck pain, lower back pain, headaches that continue for more than three months, pain that comes and goes.
The pandemic has exacerbated the experience of chronic pain for many people. Two years of heightened health and financial stress mean there is a more anxious environment in daily life now for many people, which can translate into physical symptoms like muscle tension or pain sensitivity.
Impact of chronic pain
The difficult story of chronic pain is told in both statistics and personal experiences.
Chronic pain has a significant impact on the Australian economy. Pain Australia reports that:
68% of people with chronic pain are of working age
40% of early retirement in Australia is due to chronic pain
In 2020, productivity losses due to chronic pain were estimated at $49.74 billion
The national financial burden of pain is already estimated to be over $73.2 billion and will increase to $215.6 billion by 2050.
Behind those statistics are people – over 3.4 million Australians whose lives are compromised by chronic pain.
Maybe you’re now one of them. Chronic pain may mean you can no longer move or sleep easily, may find it hard to complete your work or study, and may struggle to keep up with your hobbies or friends.
As noted above, nearly 70% of people with chronic pain are of working age – a season when most people expect to be strong, fit and healthy, able to enjoy life and fulfil their responsibilities at work and at home.
Chronic pain causes many negative repercussions in a person’s life, including:
- Being stigmatised and misunderstood by people who think they should just ‘get over it’
- Relationship difficulties
- Losing status or respect at work or in their wider community
- Not being taken seriously by healthcare professionals (70% of GP consultations for chronic pain end in a prescription for medication rather than referral to a specialist or a multidisciplinary pain centre)
- Making depression 4 times more likely.
What causes chronic pain?
There are a few potential causes of chronic pain. And there is still much that we don’t yet know.
Chronic pain may be:
- Musculoskeletal – related to bones, joints, ligaments and muscles
- Neuropathic – nerve or tissue damage that can create shooting pain or a burning sensation
You may develop chronic pain due to a known cause such as:
- Acute pain from an injury or surgery that turns into chronic pain
- An underlying condition like, migraine, spinal stenosis, osteoporosis or arthritis.
Sometimes, though, there is no apparent cause for your pain. And yet it’s there, it’s real and it’s painful. What’s going on?
It could be that your nerves or your brain are behaving differently. If there’s a problem in your body, your nerves send signals from that area to your brain to alert your brain to the issue. Your brain interprets these signals as pain – and the affected area begins to hurt.
With chronic pain, there may be no physical reason for your nerves to send pain signals or your brain to interpret nerve messages as pain. That could be because your nerves are more sensitive than usual or because your brain is misreading the signals.
Managing chronic pain at Aurum Health Care
At Aurum Health Care, we take your chronic pain seriously. We understand how hard it is to live with, and how much you yearn for it to finally go away so you can have your life back.
You’ll receive a warm welcome at our clinic, and we’ll start with a detailed discussion of your medical history, your symptoms, and their impact on your life.
Our unique approach to chronic pain care involves understanding you as a whole person –your physical condition, genetics, nutrition, lifestyle and history – because all these things may be influencing your pain.
Next, we conduct a physical examination and, if necessary, order images or other tests to aid our diagnosis.
Only when we have thoroughly assessed you and diagnosed your pain do we move on to developing a personalised, evidence-based treatment plan that meets your unique needs.
Your chronic pain care plan may include gentle, non-invasive treatments like different grades of spinal mobilisation. Ensuring proper spinal alignment helps to improve the function of your muscles, joints and nervous system, which in turn helps to ease chronic pain.
We also place a strong emphasis on helping you understand your condition, which increases your sense of agency and increases your motivation to follow your treatment plan in between appointments. After all, you are ultimately the one in charge of your own health.
We also recognise that chronic pain is not easy to treat and often requires a multidisciplinary approach, so we work closely with your GP, pain specialist, psychologist and anyone else involved in your care.