Chronic pain syndrome is an excruciating condition that is poorly understood by some. Find out more about the condition in our blog.
Chronic pain is a term used to define pain that has persisted for over 6 months, although some physiologists argue that three months is a reasonable length of time to class pain as chronic. Chronic pain affects approximately 1 in 10 people and can be brought on by a number of causes, which is why it’s such a difficult condition to diagnose.
In some instances, patients and doctors find it difficult to pinpoint the initial cause of pain, which ultimately causes a great deal of stress and frustration for all parties involved, especially patients. Chronic pain can stem from an injury or incident; the impact from an accident, such as a car crash, can cause severe damage to the nerves and, consequently, chronic pain. There are, however, a large percentage of chronic pain sufferers who haven’t experienced a prior injury, meaning that their pain is seemingly unexplainable.
Symptoms of chronic pain
Chronic pain presents itself in a number of ways and in different areas of the body. Symptoms of the condition include persistent headaches, fatigue, severe pain and a weakened immune system, all of which can go on to leave the patient feeling extremely irritated, stressed and anxious. To find out more, head over to our blog which outlines the symptoms of chronic pain syndrome in more detail.
Types of chronic pain
Much like the symptoms of chronic pain, the types are also varied. These range from:
- Neuropathic pain, which is caused by damage to the nerves that are responsible for passing messages on to the brain and spinal cord from the skin, muscles and other parts of the body.
- Nociceptive pain, which is caused by an injury to the body or a disease beyond your control. In these situations, sufferers may be entitled to chronic pain compensation.
- Visceral pain is centred around your internal organs, particularly those around your chest cavity and abdomen.
- Somatic pain concerns the outer body, such as the skin, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Chronic pain can be misdiagnosed for a number of reasons, by both the patient and the physician. As a sufferer, people may not believe that they actually have the condition; instead, they may associate their pain with ageing. In addition, many sufferers may consider their pain too mild to class it as chronic, which is a common misconception and can lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment.
Working with chronic pain
Another, and possibly the most, frustrating part of suffering from chronic pain syndrome is having other people not believe that you’re in pain and truly suffering. As chronic pain doesn’t present itself as obviously as a broken bone would, sufferers may find it difficult to work and can often feel neglected by their employers and colleagues due to a poor understanding.
It has previously been reported that 47% of chronic pain sufferers have had to reduce the amount of work they take on and have even had to step down completely due to added pressure and strain. Further surveys have also shown that on average, chronic pain sufferers miss 28.5 work days per year.
Although it may seem impossible to continue working while suffering with chronic pain syndrome, it isn’t and there are certain things that you can do to improve your working life forever.
In many cases, sufferers will have developed chronic pain as a result of an accident. In this instance, patients would be required to take time off in order to recover from any injuries they incur from the initial incident, plus would need to continue their leave from work as a result of the after effects of chronic pain. If absence from work persists, which it generally does for those who continue to go untreated, people will incur unpaid sick leave, which then adds stress. If you suffer with chronic pain syndrome and have found yourself in this situation, you may well be entitled to chronic pain compensation or an ill-health early retirement pension.
Living with Chronic Pain
Living with chronic pain is tough, unbearable and can often leave sufferers with a general feeling of helplessness. Unlike acute pain, which usually comes in short bouts on an ad-hoc basis, chronic pain is much more complicated. This is largely due to that fact that chronic pain is influenced by the way our brains perceive pain signals. Though the pain may seem like an endless battle, there are a number of coping mechanisms for chronic pain sufferers which can be integrated into everyday life to help alleviate pain and discomfort, some of which are briefly outlined below.
Distraction techniques have been described as a great starting point on the road to recovery and pain management. In order to direct your attention away from the negative imagery you picture when in pain, distraction techniques can be actioned to incite a feeling of positivity and comfort.
Relaxation training is a fantastic coping mechanism for chronic pain syndrome; although it’s not as straightforward as simply relaxing and breathing, perfecting the art of relaxation will serve you well for the rest of your life, so it’s worth investing time and energy into it.
All in all, chronic pain syndrome is a complex condition that’s often wrongly met with skepticism. As an expert law firm with vast experience in handling chronic pain compensation claims, we have a wide knowledge of the condition, working on behalf of sufferers on a regular basis. If you’d like to get in touch with us to discover whether you have the ability to claim for compensation, call our qualified team on 0808 123 0003.