Uncontrolled pain can have a profound effect on our quality of life by delaying healing, decreasing appetite, increasing stress, disrupting sleep and generally causing unwanted anxiety and depression.
Research shows that uncontrolled pain also has an adverse effect on our immune system and appears to lower our body’s ability to respond to stressful situations such as surgery, chemotherapy and psychological stress.
Moreover, unrelieved pain has been shown to cause changes in the nervous system that contribute to the development of chronic pain long after the damage has healed.
Pain control may also prolong life by reducing the negative effects it has on the body.
Sometimes misconceptions about pain, such as those mentioned here can get in the way of its control.
Putting up with pain: Pain control and comfort is a reasonable expectation. Pain does not have to be tolerated, but can be treated to improve your comfort and quality of life. Also, when treated early, pain is easier to control.
Addiction to medication: The majority of people taking pain medications do not become addicted. Some people will develop tolerance (need higher doses of the medication over time) or physical dependence (experience withdrawal symptoms if the medication is stopped suddenly), but these can be managed.
Unknown pain: Unknown pain always hurts more than the known pain; while this is true to an extent, it is better to seek an explanation for the pain — what is causing it and why it is occurring — from a qualified doctor. Knowing the source of the pain is one of the first steps to being able to control it.
Pain Talk: While some people are reluctant to talk about their pain with others, it has been shown that talking about pain, either with the people around you or a health care professional, helps to cope with it better. If you suffer mental pain about relationships, future health, finances, or other issues, talking about it helps to decrease the pain.