Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
Chronic pain and fatigue can be a devastating life event for any individual. People suffering from chronic pain can feel angry, hopeless, and frustrated. This diagnosis can also affect friends and family members of those suffering in a wide variety of ways. There are many resources available to help those with chronic pain/ fatigue. The first step in dealing with chronic pain/ fatigue is taking initiative to seek help. It is easy for a person suffering to fall into a trap where hopelessness sets in because they are unwilling to continue seeking new avenues of pain management. However, having a “never say never” attitude when dealing with medical care is the best attitude to have. While there are no guarantees, there are so many options available if you’re willing to work to find answers.
Ask your Doctor
Medical care is and has been advancing at a rapid pace most recently. With that said, it is ok to ask your doctor about a procedure you read about on the Internet or heard about on the news. Most doctors work to stay at the top of their field by learning about new surgical advancements and medications. It takes time for doctors to learn new procedures or to be able to prescribe medications. If your hope lies in a new procedure or medication and your current doctor is not able to implement the latest and greatest, he/ she can refer you to a physician or specialist that might be able to better suit your needs.
Avoid the trap
Chronic pain sufferers should avoid the trap of getting comfortable using the same medication, more specifically prescription painkillers, as a long-term solution. Some physicians will gladly prescribe the same medicine or painkiller if you, the patient, feel that it is working effectively. While prescription painkillers can be useful for some individuals, they should not be used as a long-term solution since the side effects can lead to additional physical and mental difficulties. Talk with you doctor about alternative solutions to manage or treat your pain.
Altogether, a balanced relentless approach should be taken by the patient suffering and the family to keep working for pain relief. It often takes a team of people (doctors, physical therapist, psychologist, family, friends) to fully help someone dealing with chronic pain. Often times, a cure is unlikely, but healthy management can be achieved through a team effort. Effective pain management starts with a willingness to seek help.