Pain has a vital function for humans. But what to do if it becomes chronic?
I suffer from chronic pain in my back and legs. There is no clear cause. I take pain killers and do physiotherapy, but my condition is slowly beating me. “
pain persists for no apparent reason, it usually means great suffering for those affected. For physical stress come despair and hopelessness. One withdraws, the recurring attacks of pain take possession of the mind and psyche. In addition, the professional performance decreases.
It’s a vicious circle: the more you give up on “normal” life, the more attention the pain demands. He becomes the dominant opponent. He paces everyday life and decides what is feasible and what is not. You get stuck in the struggle for control and freedom from pain, hope and disappointment alternate.
Pain is actually useful, necessary for survival. He alerts us to dangers and prompts us to correct our behaviors There are people with a congenital defect in the SCN11A gene. You don’t feel any pain. The result: They injure themselves without realizing it and often die early.
Pain has a function
So acute pain has a function. The chronic form is different. Here nerve cells continue to spark, although the injury has long since healed.
Pain research has developed new explanatory models over the last few decades. We have said goodbye to the simple image that the pain is conducted via a kind of bell wire from the location of the injury to the brain. The idea that chronic pain is psychogenic, i.e. that neuroses and internal conflicts are somehow expressed in pain, is also outdated.
Even «baseless» pain is real
Today we know that the experience of pain is a complex, active interaction of physical, psychological and social factors. Chronic pain – that is, pain that is permanent and can no longer be explained by physical causes – changes the central nervous system, creating a kind of “pain memory”. Nerve cells interpret even the smallest stimuli as pain impulses that they pass on to the brain. This pain is just as real and distressing as that that comes with a fresh injury.
Chronic pain is now recognized as an independent clinical picture. In the past, pain patients were often wronged; they were viewed as simulators and their suffering exaggerated or conceited.«In the past, those affected were often wronged. They were thought to be simulators. “
The realization that pain is processed differently and triggered by biological, psychological and sociological factors has changed the medical-therapeutic approach.
Instead of single-track medication or surgery operation is often performed too quickly or to proceed with psychotherapy, interdisciplinary pain therapy offers have now proven their worth. In a regional pain center, for example, you can find out which stress factors are partly responsible and which concrete changes in everyday behavior and thinking could have a positive influence.
Somehow accept the annoying companion
The aim is to free the patient from their isolation, in which pain determines thoughts, feelings and everyday life. It’s about accepting that the pain may become a permanent companion. That he’ll be at the table for a long time. But maybe a little further away and no longer big and heavy on the shoulders of the person concerned.
A tailor-made combination of drug therapy, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy and pain-relieving procedures – such as relaxation techniques, massages Relax properly, TENS stimulation current therapy – can significantly improve the quality of life despite chronic pain.
Support from other affected people in a self-help group can also be helpful.