You do not have to live with chronic pain

by Robyn Wright on December 17, 2012

in Living

Last week I attended a webinar with TheMotherhood and Dr. Jennifer N Caudle of the American Osteopathic Association on the topic of chronic pain. This was really an interesting session and I think all of us in attendance learned quite a bit. I thought I would share with you as well.

First a few facts about chronic pain that Dr. Caudle shared with us:

  • Pain can be caused by injury or trauma or from medical conditions such as arthritis and others
  • Chronic pain is pain experienced for more than 3 months
  • Chronic pain impacts more Americans than cancer, diabetes, and hear disease combined
  • More than 76 million Americans live with pain every day
  • Wintertime can mean more pain, especially for people 45 and older
  • Freezing temperatures, slips and falls on ice, and snow shoveling are top triggers for winter aches and pains, especially common among older adults

woman pain via flickr white ribbonsSo many of us think that if we see a physician about pain the answer they will give us is surgery or pain medications. We need to throw those assumptions out the window. Managing pain is very individual and there are many options. Dr. Caudle is a D.O. – Doctor of Osteopath. This is a physician who, just like an M.D. (medical doctor) have completed 4 years of medical school, residency programs, and board certification tests. A D.O. though takes a more “entire patient” type of approach when you come in with an issue. They also are trained in using their hands for manipulation as a form of treatment which means you can be seen and treated right when you go into the office often. All physicians have their own way of approaching how they treat their patients and it is really important to find the best fit for you – that might not be the doctor you have now or the doctor that your spouse has – find one that you really click with.

aching back via flickr dave77459My husband is one of those who dislikes going to his doctor because he thinks it is always going to cost a small fortune, and to be honest his MD is one that likes a lot of expensive tests it seems so I can understand Hubby’s feeling on that. I am hoping to convince Hubby to see a D.O. though who might offer some other options. At the webinar cost was discussed because the doctor said she knew of patients where they said they should have physical therapy for several weeks, but the patients would not end up going but once because they could not afford it. If cost is any issue for you tell your doctor! They may be able to offer other ideas such as exercises or stretches you can do at home for free to help with pain. If medication is needed they can look at all the alternatives. The biggest point was to try to get in to see someone about your pain and making sure all of your issues are addressed instead of not going and “dealing with the pain” or a condition possibly getting worse.

We also discussed that so many people put off seeking treatment or answers for their pain during the holiday season. In surveys 55% of people would rather take down holiday decorations alone than see a physician about their pain, 44% would rather shovel snow for an hour, and even 33% would rather stand in line the day after Christmas to exchange and return gifts. Adding to that, since those folks are putting off getting help they are doing those tasks in pain too! Putting off seeing a physician during the holidays can really take away from your enjoyment of the season. I for one know I am cranky and crabby when I do not feel good or something hurts. Squeeze that appointment into your schedule even during this time of the year so that you can get some answers and relief and be able to enjoy the season and time with family and friends.

The AOA (American Osteopathic Association) has more information about pain on their site along with many other health issues. If you have pain try taking their short pain quiz to see if you should see a physician. They also offer a Pain Assessment and Daily Journal that you can fill out and take to the doctor with you to help them better understand how to help you. The AOA is on Facebook and on Twitter @AOAforMedia.

Are you or someone you know living with chronic pain? What is stopping you from seeing a physician about it?

Disclosure: I received a stipend for attending the webinar and sharing what I learned from AOA via TheMotherhood. The opinions stated are my own and I am not offering medical advice.

Photo credits: Woman via white ribbon on Flickr; Aching back via Dave77459 on Flickr

© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.

  • http://www.fotomacro.etsy.com angie

    I myself have had pain from a knee and shoulder injury for over three years. I have tried every form of treatment from medication to rest to ice to massage therapy and have finally come to the conclusion that the only thing that is going to get me to heal is to lower my weight. I have lost almost 40lbs since June and already have noticed a marked difference in the amount and frequency of my pain. I still have 250lbs to shed, but I know that this will most likely cure my chronic pain.

  • http://www.jennifercaudle.com Dr. Jennifer Caudle

    Hello Robyn! Thank you for writing the great blog on chronic pain! I really enjoyed our discussion about pain, DO’s and other health issues! Thank you for also sharing my advice about cost and doctor’s offices- I believe it is so important to let your doctor know if cost is an issue with ANYTHING (from meds to copays)!!! Thank you!
    Dr. Jen Caudle
    http://www.jennifercaudle.com
    twitter: @drjencaudle
    http://www.facebook.com/drjennifercaudle

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com Robyn Wright

      I’m working still on getting Hubby to go, but I will convince him! Thanks again for all of your knowledge you shared with us the other day!

  • http://fadedginger.wordpress.com Ginger Kay

    What stops me is past interactions with medical doctors that were entirely unhelpful. I don’t even want to bother anymore. It’s so frustrating. I should start going to a chiropractor again, but the cost keeps me putting it off.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com Robyn Wright

      It is so hard to keep trying different doctors I know. You really might try a D.O. next time though – they can do hands on stuff like chiropractor, but are full doctors as well. They have a search for DO’s in your area on the site if that helps any http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/find-a-do/Pages/default.aspx

  • http://southerngirlramblings.com Kecia

    I was having horrible upper back pain that I swore was muscular a few months ago. Turns out it was my gallbladder and I had to have it removed last month. I almost didn’t go to the doctor because I thought it was silly to go just for “muscle pain”. Now, I’m glad I went!

  • Margie

    I totally agree with you that it is very important to find a doctor you can communicate with easily. There are sometimes alternative medical remedies that can be of help, eg., acupuncture, etc., although I have never tried this. I have been bothered by fibromyalgia for years, and can’t seem to find a good cure.

  • Mendy Dinsmore

    I have had chronic pain in all my joints for a long time now. I’m really interested in visiting their website and learning more. The cost of medical care is always an issue for me. No insurance, so I don’t go to the Doctor as often as I should.

  • http://applefortheteach.blogspot.com/ Kelly

    My hubby has been suffering from chronic headaches – finally convinced him to go to the doctor and they are getting him relief. It is amazing how many people don’t think of asking their doctor for help.

  • Jane m

    My hubby has screws and a locking plate hardware to keep his ankle together. They are permanent. He no longer uses a cane & our LO really helps him get moving. I massage his legs & feet regularly to help with the pain.

  • http://rowynyewsattempttoblog.blogspot.com Beverly

    At only 30 years old, I am in constant pain everyday. I have been seen by a doctor, but not for my purposes, rather as part of an assessment. The results of that were shocking. I just recently got the results though it has been 2 years since I was seen. I suffer from constant lower back pain that shoots down my legs. My knees are also completely shot. It literally feels like my knee caps are going to pop off when I stand up or sit down or go down stairs. I don’t have health insurance, so the main reason I do not see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment is that I cannot afford it. It is really sad that it is so expensive for health care or even for insurance that most people cannot get the help they so desperately need.

  • Ashley

    This post is great because it applies to SO many people who quietly endure this horrible trial. I personally do not have chronic pain but I do have arthritis.

  • Shari A

    My husband lives in constant pain & dislikes going to the Dr maybe this will help him!! thank you I’m book marking this so he can read it!

  • http://www.angloaddict.com Lisa A.

    My husband has a lot of back pain and neither the doctor nor the chiropractor can do much about it. It’s very frustrating!

  • Katherine

    My husband lives with chronic pain because of arthritus but he does see a Dr. for it

  • Ravzie

    As an RN, I deal with people in pain every day. There is no easy answer so often. I applaud everyone who focuses on pain relief, it’s not always just a pill. And you are right, so many people just grin and bear it. Sad. Thanks for trying to educate on this important topic.

  • ria

    My mother suffers from intense knee and lower back pain. One product that gave her some relief was nopalea but after a while it was so expensive

  • http://brokenwon.blogspot.com Wendy T

    Amen to what you said about PT/cost and being up front with your doctor. I just went through my first long term (6 month) bout of pain that got worse and worse. At the end, it was bringing tears to my eyes and waking me up at night.

    When it was determined I had arthritis of the knee and bone spurs, my doc recommended PT as a first course of treatment. He said if that didn’t work, he’d recommend a cortisone injection. I am one of the biggest nervous nellies about shots – but I knew I could not afford the repeated PT sessions. I told him and we went straight to the shot and I am feeling much better!

    I was glad I was honest and up front with him and that I faced my fear about the injection and did it anyhow. And for the record, while it was not pleasant, it was not as bad as I had anticipated.

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