Severe pain makes it difficult for a person to focus on anything but their pain and can keep them from enjoying life. Depending on where a person’s chronic pain is and what causes it, it can interfere with a person’s ability to eat, sleep or interact with others. Chronic pain also drains a person’s energy and gives them a sense of hopelessness and pessimism towards their ability to lead a normal life.
Busting Pain Myths
Many people believe that chronic pain is all part of aging, but that isn’t necessarily true. Pain always has a cause and that cause may be able to be managed with proper treatment or medication. Learning what causes a person’s pain, rather than dismissing it as a byproduct of aging, can mean the difference between being able to lead a normal life and living a life of needless agony.
Physical and Emotional Distress at the End of Life
Pain from an illness or from a person’s life ending needs delicate and exceptionally attentive care from trained professionals. Such pain is best treated by compassionate hospice or palliative care providers. Hospice providers specialize in caring for those experiencing the physical pain that accompanies the end of life and can help bring both the patient and their family peace of mind in the patient’s final days.
No matter what stage of life the patient is in, chronic pain undoubtedly takes a physical and emotional toll on the patient and their loved ones and will only increase as the patient’s remaining days dwindle. This fact inevitably spawns talk of financial matters, required care versus desired care, visits to see loved ones before passing away, bringing closure to outstanding issues and easing fears about passing on.
This unavoidable hardship is something a good hospice team can help a patient and their family work through. A hospice team includes professionals trained to ensure that the end of a person’s life is as comfortable as possible. Their goal is to help manage all forms of a patient’s pain so that they can live their life without having to constantly work around their limitations.
Pain Medication and How to Use It Safely
If your doctor prescribes pain medication you may be concerned about addiction to it or becoming lethargic all the time. Pain medications are designed to help a patient live a normal life, not keep them constantly sedated. If you take the medication as directed, any pain medication you are prescribed will remain safe to take.
Additionally, there is a significant difference between addiction, characterized by a psychological craving for the medicine, and physical dependence, which is when you need the medicine to reduce pain and live life normally. Most people are particularly leery of narcotics, also known as opioids, due to the chills, sweating and nausea they cause when suddenly halted. These can be prevented by weaning yourself off of the medication gradually, with your doctor’s guidance. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options if you are experiencing chronic pain, as medication paired with appropriate therapy may help relieve the pain more quickly and effectively.