However, according to the Pain Proposal launched last year, it takes an average of three years to wait for a diagnosis, and an additional three years for adequate pain management.
These statistics are all the more concerning for the fact that the longer pain is left, the harder it becomes to treat.
As Dr Nick Fraser of the BMI Alexandra Hospital in Cheshire explains: “If pain persists, the body can become more sensitised to it, and then the sensation will continue long after the actual body damage that produced the initial feeling has healed.”
Living with pain day-in, day-out can have a massive effect on a person’s physical and emotional well-being. Pain can be all-consuming and debilitating, and prevent people from leading a normal life.
When treatment isn’t an option, the only other way is management. Dr Fraser believes self-management is the most effective way to deal with chronic pain.
Here are a few small things you can do to take control of your pain.
Exercise is one of the best antidotes to pain there is. Known as ‘nature’s painkiller’, exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good and block pain signals. Regular stretching and massage will also help your joints stay supple and healthy.
2. Heat pads
Heat is thought to distract the brain from pain. Dr Fraser suggests applying heat pads to tired muscles and aching joints.
Pain and emotions are intricately connected. If you look after your mind, your body will follow suit. Find ways to relax – take a bath, reserve time to do the things you enjoy doing, and try to cut the stresses out of your life.
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