Long-Term Effects of Chronic Pain & Medical Issues
Do you struggle with chronic pain and medical issues? If so, it can be hard to cope.
While pain in and of itself is necessary so we know when to slow down and assess our body, it is not meant to last a long time. Chronic pain is when pain lasts longer than three to six months, which is the normal range for acute pain.
Conditions like chronic joint or nerve pain, cancer, a stroke, heart attack, or an injury can trigger long-term effects. Pain and medical illnesses impact daily functioning, relationships, and emotions. The three primary areas that chronic pain and medical issues can affect include your sleep, mood/mental health, and quality of life. Keep reading to learn more.
Related: How to Cope with Life Transitions
When you suffer from chronic pain and medical issues, you might find it difficult to fall asleep. The aches and pains can keep you up and prevent you from getting a good night’s rest, which is ideal for recovery. As a result, you can develop insomnia, which can also lead to mental health problems.
Inadequate sleep does more than just make you tired, your mood and mental health are affected as well.
Related: Can Therapy Help With Insomnia?
Medical issues and long-term pain can trigger intense emotions. You might experience anger or frustration for going through a certain condition, sadness for the loss of things you used to be able to do, and higher levels of stress.
Mental health is highly associated with chronic pain and medical issues. Chronic pain can not only affect your mood, but it can trigger anxiety and depression and can cause you to isolate yourself in the process.
Related: Anger Management & Mental Health
Quality of Life
Overall, when you have pain, it negatively affects your health-related quality of life. The combination of doctor appointments or lack of understanding from others can leave you frustrated mentally, emotionally, and physically.
The good news is that with the right treatment, you can learn to cope with chronic pain and medical issues. Often, a combination of therapy and medication is useful. In therapy, you can work through your feelings and challenges, and improve your quality of life.
Sandra Bucher, Red Wing Clinical Site Director at Nystrom & Associates, touches on the complications of grief:
The complications of chronic pain are serious. Because of this, it’s essential to seek medical/mental heath care if you’re experiencing chronic pain. There are many options for pain treatment and management. While it may take a while to find the right combination of therapies that work for you, it’s worth undertaking.
Some additional complications of chronic pain include:
- Substance abuse disorder
- Worsening of existing chronic disease
- An increased risk of suicidal thoughts and/or suicide
Learn more about responses to chronic pain and medical issues on our specialty page.
A Word From Nystrom & Associates
No matter what type of chronic pain and medical issues you are experiencing, you don’t have to go through it alone. Checking in with a support system can help mitigate mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder.
Related: What is Substance Use Disorder?