If you experience chronic pain, you know how it can negatively affect your life. From the hobbies you love to the daily activities necessary to get through your day, chronic pain can be debilitating. Was your 2022 dictated by chronic pain? Why not make a New Year's resolution to better manage, reduce, and even treat the underlying cause of your chronic pain?
An experienced orthopedic specialist can help you identify and diagnose the cause of your chronic pain, as well as develop a plan to reduce it and improve your quality of life. This, along with some lifestyle and mindset changes, is an essential step in helping you relieve pain so you can get back to living the life you love.
At Greater Pittsburgh Orthopaedic Associates (GPOA), our team of experienced orthopedic specialists has the knowledge and experience to help you find relief. From joint replacements, and physical therapy to minimally invasive procedures like orthobiologics and more, we can provide personalized treatment plans that best suit your needs and lifestyle.
Here are some important facts about chronic pain, as well as our advice for finding relief in the new year.
What is Chronic Pain?
It's important to understand that there are two types of pain: chronic pain and acute pain. By definition, chronic pain is “pain that persists for a period of time beyond what is considered normal healing time.” Unlike acute pain, which can be caused by an injury or illness, there is no specific condition that causes one to develop chronic pain. For people with chronic pain, their symptoms can last for months or even years.
For someone who has chronic pain, the central nervous system can become “wired” for pain, meaning that your brain perceives the pain and sends pain signals to your body even when there is no longer a source of physical discomfort. This can cause a great deal of suffering and difficulty in day-to-day activities and can be frustrating when there is no easy fix.
What Are Some Common Chronic Pain Disorders?
Just because there is no particular condition that causes chronic pain doesn't mean it isn't a real problem. Some of the most common chronic pain conditions include:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
- Herniated discs
How Do I Know I Have a Chronic Pain Syndrome?
Chronic pain syndromes are often difficult to diagnose. Symptoms can vary from person to person, and sometimes there is no obvious cause or underlying condition causing the pain. However, if your symptoms last for more than three months, it may be time to visit an orthopedic specialist at Greater Pittsburgh Orthopaedic Associates (GPOA).
Some of the most common symptoms reported by people with chronic pain include:
- Persistent pain that lasts for more than three months
- Pain that is worse in the morning and gets better as the day progresses
- Sharp or dull aches
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle spasms or weakness
- Trouble sleeping
- Mood symptoms such as depression or anxiety
At GPOA, our specialized team of orthopedic specialists can help you identify the cause of your chronic pain and develop a personalized plan to reduce it and improve your quality of life. If you're experiencing these or other symptoms, we may perform some imaging tests or other diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your pain. Our team will work with you to develop a treatment plan that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
Treat Chronic Pain in 2023
If you're dealing with chronic pain, it may seem impossible to imagine finding relief. Fortunately, there are steps you can take this year to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.
Acknowledge Your Pain
Many people suffer chronic pain in silence, feeling ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their pain. It's important to remember that chronic pain is a real problem and can have very negative effects on your life, including taking a toll on your emotional and physical health. Acknowledging your pain is the first step in finding relief. If you're having trouble coming to terms with your chronic pain, talk therapy may be beneficial.
Understand the Underlying Cause
Your pain may have no obvious cause, but it's still important to take steps to address it. Your GPOA specialist may use imaging tests or other diagnostic tests to help determine the source of your chronic pain. Have you forgotten a past injury that may be contributing to your chronic back pain? Is there a repetitive motion you perform at work that could be giving you nerve pain? Do you have a family history of joint problems that could be the source of arthritis pain? All of these questions can help your GPOA specialist determine the source of your pain and tailor a treatment plan to you.
Try Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can be helpful in reducing the intensity of your chronic pain. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to reduce pain, including stretching, massage, exercise, and heat or ice treatments. This will allow your body to slowly become accustomed to the movements that cause pain and help you build strength in areas prone to chronic discomfort.
Have an Identifiable Trigger? Address It
Your pain may have no obvious reason, but if you identify an action or environment that makes your pain worse, try to avoid it. If you often experience back pain after a long drive, try taking breaks or investing in specialized pillows and braces for your vehicle seat. If cold weather makes joint pain worse, dress warmly and limit the time you spend outside.
Get Your Chronic Pain Treated
One of the most important steps you can take to reduce your chronic pain is seeking proper medical treatment. Visiting a GPOA orthopedic specialist is the best way to receive an accurate diagnosis and develop a personalized chronic pain management plan. Our team of highly trained specialists have experience in providing treatment for all types of joint, muscle, and bone issues and can help you get to the root of your pain.
Visit Your Top Pittsburgh Orthopedic Surgeons
If you live in the greater Pittsburgh area, Greater Pittsburgh Orthopaedic Associates (GPOA) is here to help. Our team of experienced orthopedic surgeons specialize in diagnosing and treating chronic pain and other musculoskeletal problems. We're committed to providing personalized, comprehensive care that meets your individual needs. With our state-of-the-art facilities and expertise, you can trust us to provide the highest quality of care for your orthopedic needs.
Make a resolution this year to get your chronic pain treated. With the help of Greater Pittsburgh Orthopaedic Associates, you'll be on your way to reducing your pain and improving your quality of life in no time. Schedule your first appointment with us online today and take one step closer to a healthier, pain-free future.