There are over seven billion people living in this world, and more than 1.5 billion of them are suffering from some type of chronic pain. In America alone, there are around 100 million adults suffering from illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. All of these conditions can resort to pain, so it’s not just about physical injury. In naturopathic family care, doctors have seen patients suffer from bouts of chronic pain that lasted weeks, months or even years, without any real clear cause.
The pain described by these patients normally pinpointed in the lower back, head or along the peripheral or central nervous system.
Disability and Chronic Pain
Many people are now living with a disability due to chronic pain. Back pain is the most common type of pain that interferes with productivity and quality of life. The U.S. health care system spends up to $635 billion annually on pain care. The significant impact chronic pain can have on one’s life is substantial, according to a survey done by the American Pain Foundation. The following data was collected:
- 59 percent had an impact on their overall enjoyment of life
- 70 percent had difficulty concentrating
- 74 percent had a loss of energy
- 77 percent felt depressed
- 86 percent had trouble sleeping
Most of these people are unable to realize their career goals because of chronic pain. Many workers report losing an average of five hours weekly due to chronic pain. Up to 20 percent of these individuals end up taking disability leave from work or switch fields of work. Another 13 percent reports requiring the need for assistance to perform daily living activities.
This brings about an issue with painkillers – according to the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, Americans consume 80 percent of the painkillers in the world. Once you start taking them, it’s very difficult to stop, which is why naturopathic family care doctors who practice integrative medicine in Arizona advise against their use.
Alternative medicine practitioners offer a variety of other services that can help with pain, such as acupuncture. Many patients come for these services after conventional medicine fails to treat their chronic pain, which can be caused by a variety of things. Here are five causes of pain that may surprise you.
Surprising Causes of Chronic Pain
Let’s review what could be causing you or your loved one’s chronic pain:
- Emotional trauma: This means the patient feels pain that is psychological or emotional in nature. There’s evidence that proves this is definitely possible. There’s a theory that emotional trauma, alongside environmental toxins and physical injury can stimulate the molecules in your central nervous system, known as microglia, which is an inflammatory chemical that is released during times of stress, anxiety or depression.
- Painkillers: Most people find it odd that the medicine that helps pain can also trigger it. When people take pain pills for months, it can make pain worsen. The effectiveness starts to go away, only providing about 30 percent of the relief it once did. Some patients even develop hyperalgesia, which is an increased sensitivity to pain.
- Poor sleep: Your overall health can be greatly affected by lack of sleep. This is because your body needs to enter into that deep sleep state in order to initiate tissue growth and repair, which is needed for pain relief.
- Magnesium deficiency: One of the roles of magnesium in the body is to block your brain’s receptors to glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter that can make your neurons more sensitive to pain. It’s been found that about 80 percent of Americans have a magnesium deficiency.
- Leaky gut: This is a problem more and more people are dealing with, as they ingest food particles, toxicants and bacteria that leak into their bloodstream. This can lead to abdominal cramps, bloating, gas and other digestive symptoms.
If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic pain, you should consult with a naturopathic family care physician about possible treatments.