Chronic pain isn’t a condition that affects just one part of the body. In fact, many health care professionals have come to the point where they’ve begun treating pain as its own separate disease, in addition to treating the underlying cause. Any person who has suffered with pain for even a short amount of time will tell you how debilitating it can be.
We tend to think of pain in terms that if we can treat the underlying cause, the pain will magically disappear. Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that pain itself has a physiological impact on the rest of the body, adding more layers of complexity to effective pain management. For those suffering with chronic pain, it’s important to understand how far reaching the physiological effects can be.
Pain and Changing Lifestyles
Whether it stems from a chronic condition or a recent wound or injury, pain can be relentless. Our bodies are programmed to not do things that could cause additional injury. In the broadest sense, pain is the body’s loudest signal to stop what you’re doing.
Because of this, chronic pain often leads to a decline in physical activity. What starts out as a period of recovery after a fall can lead to muscular atrophy if pain persists and limits movement. Prolonged pain, especially when it’s left unmanaged can spiral into additional, often serious, health issues due to lack of movement and activity.
For instance, immobility due to pain can lead to muscle and tissue damage, creating a situation where the individual is more susceptible to further injury. It’s also quite common to experience a general increase in pain as the body’s support structures begin to weaken and deteriorate. It doesn’t take long before pain causes a continual manifestation of additional physiological symptoms.
Understanding the Physiological Effects of Pain
People experience pain in different ways, which can make it difficult to assess the degree of pain and how it’s affecting other physiological functions. In regard to injury, we often tend to think of pain as being localized and as the source of the pain heals, so will the pain. Except this isn’t always the case.
Chronic pain might lead to muscle spasms that can further damage supportive tissues. Also, impaired mobility can increase a person’s risk for deep vein thrombosis – a condition that can be very serious and even life threatening.
There are also cardiovascular issues associated with pain to consider. Being in a constant state of pain can lead to hypertension and cardiopulmonary dysfunction. Untreated chronic pain has also been shown to reduce immune function and lead to hormonal imbalances. When pain is present, it isn’t always an isolated condition and if left untreated, can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and quality of life.
Pain Management in a Skilled Nursing Facility
When you’re in pain, you need treatment from a skilled nursing facility that’s experienced in chronic pain management. We’re here to help you with a range of pain management services, specially designed for chronic conditions and people of advanced age. Contact Princeton Health Center to learn more about our pain management and wound care center today.