Everyone experiences pain from time to time, so it can be tough to know when to see a doctor about it. Chronic pain may last for weeks, months or even years. We may adjust our lives around it and get used to living with pain. Here are six signs it’s time to seek pain management options.
1. You experience consistent or radiating pain
Chronic pain is any pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. If you’re in pain most of the time, it may be a sign that you need to consult a doctor for chronic pain. Track how often you’re in pain and how severe it feels. Take note of what kind of pain you’re feeling. Does it radiate throughout a limb or your entire body? Do you feel numbness or tingling? If you experience ongoing pain that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter pain relievers, discuss treatment options with your doctor.
2. Pain interferes with your daily life
Chronic pain can be caused by a medical condition, an injury or everyday stress and tension. It can make everyday activities difficult, such as going to work or taking care of yourself and your family. If you’re finding your usual routine challenging, or missing social events because of your pain, it may be time to see a doctor.
3. It’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep
It’s a cycle. Pain may cause you to lose sleep, and insomnia can cause pain to escalate. Each person’s pain tolerance is different, but any pain that keeps you up at night may be considered severe as it can have a domino effect on your physical and mental health.
4. Over-the-counter medications are not effective
People living with chronic pain may turn to home remedies such as heat packs, or over-the-counter medications. While this may work for minor injuries, it may not be enough for long-term symptoms, and you may encounter side effects from the medication. A doctor may recommend prescription pain medication, physical therapy or plant-based medicine such as medicinal cannabis to treat pain.
5. You have a health condition or past injury
Most injuries heal within weeks and the pain goes away on its own, but sometimes an injury causes chronic pain even after the injury seems to have healed because of tissue damage or because it hasn’t healed properly.
Many people who live with chronic pain may also have chronic fatigue syndrome or other conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. These conditions can worsen chronic pain, so it’s important to get them under control and discuss a treatment plan with a doctor.
6. You’re feeling depressed or anxious
Mental health can be affected by chronic pain. You may feel anxious or depressed about your pain, or the everyday struggles that may come with living with chronic pain. It may be challenging to concentrate, or you may feel easily irritated, which can affect both work and relationships and exacerbate your mental health further. It’s important to talk to a doctor who can help you treat the underlying cause of pain and help improve your emotional health.
Connect with a doctor from the comfort of your home through an online doctor consult to discuss pain management options.