lady holding her lower back in pain

When Should You See a Pain Specialist

While most people deal with pain in some capacity during the course of their lives, it can be difficult to know when it is time to talk to a professional about it. In a 2016 study, more than 1 in 5 adults were reported to have chronic pain in the United States, and about 8% of adults experienced “high-impact” chronic pain. The NCCIH defines chronic pain as that which “lasts longer than several months,” and persists past the timeline of “normal healing.”

Dealing with pain every day can become its own “normal,” but continual pain does not have to be brushed aside.  A pain specialist is trained to help people manage pain issues, particularly when chronic pain is affecting the following areas of your life.

When it Impacts Your Ability to Work

A 2017 study published in Family Practice found that employees with chronic pain reported an average of 5.4 hours per week of reduced productivity. This effect on overall performance can leave both employees and managers feeling frustrated.

If your pain is reducing your productivity at work, you may need to speak to a specialist for solutions.

When it Diminishes Your Mental Health

Living with chronic pain is both physically stressful and draining. But this continued pain is also often associated with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. According to Mental Health America, this is because daily pain can cause a change in the level of stress hormones and neurochemicals in your brain and nervous system.

Unfortunately, the anxiety caused by chronic pain may add to its intensity. “Sometimes pain and depression create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain,” Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D. at the Mayo Clinic acknowledges.

If your chronic pain is dampening your mood, causing frustration, depression, anxiety, or other negative emotions, a pain specialist can help.

When it Reduces Time with Loved Ones

Many people who experience chronic pain can find themselves having difficulty participating in social activities and engagements they would otherwise enjoy. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Patient Experience, patients with chronic pain had lower friendship quality, higher perceived rejection, and higher perceived hostility. Whether due to physical restrictions, emotional exhaustion, or a combination of both, many people with chronic pain often feel that they are not as connected to their family and friends as they want to be.

Talk to a specialist to relieve chronic pain, and get back to more quality time with loved ones.

When Other Treatments Have Been Unsuccessful

There are many different types of treatment for chronic pain available. If you have tried at-home or even doctor-prescribed methods only to have persisting pain, a specialist can help.

Postponing treatment for your chronic pain may lead to its worsening in the future, so consult a pain specialist sooner rather than later to access new, multidisciplinary treatment and help your body heal.

If you or someone you love are experiencing chronic pain, the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain can provide individualized solutions that can get you back to doing the things you love. You can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at 770-929-9033.