We all experience pain from time to time. It is part of the human condition. Unfortunately, as many as 20% of us experience chronic pain from time to time. And approximately 7% of us experience pain significant enough to alter daily life. Needless to say, living with chronic pain isn’t always easy.
Chronic pain suffers do not just deal with the physical symptoms of pain. They also deal with emotional and mental aspects that can be extremely hard to quantify. Oftentimes, the emotional and mental effects of chronic pain are more debilitating than the pain itself. This is why it is so important to keep chronic pain patients engaged.
Long Lasting Pain
Chronic pain is defined differently by various medical and government entities. As a general rule, chronic pain is pain that persists for a long time – which is generally defined as anywhere from three to six months. Chronic pain’s other tell-tale sign is that it interferes with daily life. Even if it is not completely debilitating, chronic pain influences how the person experiencing it manages their daily routine.
Psychologically, chronic pain can lead to frustration and anger. It can cause sufferers to lash out at friends and family members. At its extreme, chronic pain can be enough to cause a person to wonder if there is any value in life at all.
It can be difficult for someone who has never experienced chronic pain to understand the psychological impacts of it. Likewise, someone who experienced chronic pain for six months before finding relief has only limited insight into the thoughts and emotions of a person who has suffered with pain for years.
Relief Through Cannabis
In recent years, there has been an up-tick in patients turning to medical cannabis for pain relief. In fact, the experts behind the Utahmarijuana.org organization say that chronic pain is the number one reason patients seek to get their medical cannabis cards.
Evidence in support of cannabis as a pain treatment is limited. No large scale, clinical studies have been done up to this point. Quite a few smaller studies have been done, and many of them point to cannabis as an effective treatment. But to know once and for all, we need the same kinds of studies that big pharma puts other drugs through.
When cannabis does seem to work, it is usually a product with more THC than CBD. Both THC and CBD are cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. THC is the cannabinoid that makes marijuana users high. CBD does not have any intoxicating effects.
Recommended Coping Mechanisms
Utahmarijuana.org encourages patients in states with legal medical cannabis programs to look into enrolling. Whether a patient uses cannabis or not, there are other coping mechanisms recommended by experts. These include:
- Managing Stress – Stress seems to amplify pain perception in people suffering from chronic pain. Manage your daily stress and pain management gets easier.
- Exercise – Exercise causes the brain to release endorphins. These brain chemicals not only make you feel good, but they can also reduce the perception of pain.
- Stay Busy – Chronic pain patients seem to do better when they stay busy doing things they enjoy. Activity distracts the brain so that patients do not spend all their time focusing on how they feel.
Living with chronic pain is not always easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult. Chronic pain is more than a physical condition. It is also a condition with mental and emotional aspects. Though there may be no way to completely eliminate pain, there are ways to reduce its impact on daily life. Chronic pain sufferers need to know them.