Outsmart Your Pain
When it comes to persistent, chronic pain, such as back pain, migraines, and arthritis, things are a bit more complicated than when you stub your toe or cut your finger. Let's explore some common pain myths.
Myth #1: Pain is always a sign of an ailment or that some part of your body is hurt or damaged.
Fact: Pain sometimes travels alone.
Not all pain can be linked to an identifiable physical condition or injury. Sometimes it develops for no apparent reason, but the discomfort is still very real. Although it's difficult to provide a cure for the pain without an identifiable cause, chronic pain can be effectively managed.
- What over-the-counter pain reliever is best for your pain? Take this quiz.
Myth #2: Medication is the only treatment that can really relieve pain.
Fact: Pain has many enemies.
When we think pain, we think pills: over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers for normal pain, and prescription opioid medications for more severe pain. However, many other effective pain treatment options are available. Even some mind-over-matter techniques, such as positive self-talk and visualization, can help lessen pain. Biofeedback, relaxation training, and behavioral therapy also may help relieve chronic pain.
- Read more about it in Can You Heal Chronic Pain with Your Mind?
Myth #3: If OTC medication relieves your pain, it's nothing to worry about.
Fact: Pain can mean business.
OTC analgesics can relieve many types of pain, at least for a while. However, there may be something behind your pain that requires treatment, like an infection. Minor ailments normally heal in about a week, so talk with your healthcare provider if the pain continues beyond that.
Myth #4: Pain is an inevitable part of aging.
Fact: Pain hates to be ignored.
The notion that you should expect pain as you age, and learn to live with it, is an ongoing myth about aging. Older adults are more likely to experience pain, but it's definitely not a symptom of aging. Let your doctor know about any aching, soreness, or discomfort, and work with him or her to determine the most effective treatment.
- Keep your joints working well with the Osteoarthritis Assessment.
Myth #5: Only a doctor can assess your pain and determine whether it's real.
Fact: Pain is personal.
The best person to judge the level and intensity of your pain is you. You are the expert. In fact, studies show that self-reports of pain provide the most accurate and reliable reading of pain intensity. But different people may perceive the same pain stimulus differently.
- Is your pain reliever doing more harm than good? Find out.