In recent years there have been major advancements in pain management. The increased research and development are partly due to the prevalence of chronic pain in America. Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability, and it’s the most cited reason people seek medical care.

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One reason for the increased in chronic pain is our modern day lifestyle. More stress, less physical activity and more sitting take a toll on the body. Chronic pain has steadily risen in the last two decades to the point that 25.3 million adults now live with daily pain.

Managing chronic pain can be complex, but it’s medically necessary. If pain goes untreated it can lead to other serious health issues, and mismanagement of pain can be even more detrimental. Anyone who’s experiencing chronic lower back pain, migraines and constant aches should follow these pain management do’s and don’ts.

Do Speak Up If You’re in Pain

If you’re dealing with chronic pain you should seek help if over-the-counter medications aren’t helping enough. Chronic pain can lead to depression, anxiety and other psychological problems.

Do Not Use Opioid Painkillers for Low to Moderate Pain

Opioid painkillers, such as codeine and oxycodone, are highly effective at treating moderate to severe pain. However, prescription opioid painkillers aren’t effective for common issues like lower back pain or headaches because they’re too powerful. The result will be overmedication.

Misusing opioids in this way can lead to addiction. It’s one of the problems that the experts at HARP Treatment Center have seen in recent years. Their center for rehab in Palm Beach, Florida notes that today legal prescription drugs are among the most abused substances.

If you have chronic back pain, which is very common in the U.S., there are changes you can make to relief the discomfort. For example, simply standing up more can relieve chronic back pain if you sit at a desk all day.

Do Let Your Doctor Know All Medications You’re Taking

Adverse interaction can occur when you’re taking more than one medication at a time. Supplements and herbs can also create adverse reactions if they’re mixed with certain medications. Let your doctor know about all medications, supplements, vitamins or herbs that you take regularly or as needed.

Do Not Buy Prescription Painkillers on the Black Market

The only thing worse than not adhering to your prescription directions is taking a medication your doctor hasn’t prescribed. Many people buy or take prescription pain medications from private individuals in a legitimate effort to control pain. This is extremely dangerous because you could have an underlying condition or take other medications that react adversely.

Doctors take a lot of factors into consideration when they write a prescription. What’s safe for a friend or family member may be dangerous for someone else. If you have moderate to severe pain your best bet is to visit an urgent care facility.

Do Keep a Pain Journal

Notating your pain triggers, symptoms and characteristics can help you pinpoint the causes and effective relievers. Anytime pain comes on, whether it’s first thing after waking up or last in the evening, jot down a record. The record should note:

·  The pain sensation you’re feeling.

·  The location of the pain.

·  The time of day and where you are at.

·  What you were doing when the pain began.

These sorts of details can be very beneficial in putting together a pain management plan that will work.

Don’t Skip Exercise

When you’re in pain the natural inclination is to sit still. However, science says that may not be the best strategy for chronic pain. Instead, low impact and moderate intensity exercise is usually a better solution. In addition to strengthening muscles, exercise increases blood flow and boosts endorphin production for natural pain relief.

Do Try to Relax

Stress and anxiety start in the brain, but it’s felt all over the body. One reaction to stress is muscle tension. Muscles will contract tightly when you’re feeling stressed, which causes tension, aches and cramping. The most affected areas include the back, shoulders and neck.

There are a lot of techniques that can be used to relieve muscle tension and the resulting pain. The first step is to determine the cause of your stress. The pain can also be addressed directly by simply stretching throughout the day, practicing meditation or getting a massage.