You might experience chronic pain for numerous reasons, such as arthritis, shingles, cancer, and other underlying diseases. Depending on the cause, you might experience pain in different parts of the body, but it will affect your life quality nonetheless. Using the quality of life scale as a tool, your doctor will assess the pain and observe problems to see possibilities for improvement and treatment.
Here are some ways chronic pain can affect your quality of life:
1. Negative Emotions
Pain not only hurts the body, but it also affects your emotions. You will experience a sudden change in your memory, mood, relationships, and qualify of life. Besides physical treatment, you also require mental care. Negative emotions will cause depression and other mental health problems, making the pain even worse. You can follow an extensive pain management plan to minimize your emotional and physical chronic pain.
2. Depression, Anxiety, and Anger
You might develop anxiety, frustration, anger, and depression with constant pain and aches. Facing occasional emotional breakdown sessions is not dangerous and irritating, but you should take action before it gets worse if it continues. You can divert yourself by choosing fun activities. You can also follow stress-reduction techniques and join a pain support group. When you talk to other people about your chronic pain, you experience some relief in knowing that others feel it too.
3. Lower Self-esteem
Pain can affect your job performance, prevent you from performing daily tasks, and lower your motivation toward exercising. With time, you will start considering your pain as a personal defect or sign of weakness. If you experience any change in your self-esteem, you can seek a pain support group or therapist. This allows you to connect with others and talk your problems out. With time, you believe in yourself and eliminating negative thoughts.
4. The Feeling of Being Left Alone
When in pain, you will avoid social gatherings and office parties. You might not even enjoy close friends’ birthdays or arrange a barbecue party in your backyard. Eventually, you will experience social isolation and feelings of being alone. However, focusing on having a few good friends instead of more friends will cheer you up and keep you motivated. For instance, sports enthusiasts should enjoy their favorite sport with a few close friends rather than many acquaintances to better enjoy the game.
5. Affecting the Relationships
You might not be able to complete your daily household chores when in chronic pain. For instance, taking care of the child, participate in family activities, and contribute to the house financially will become an arduous task for you. Chronic pain can also affect your sexual life, leading to resentment, communication breakdowns, and frustration. It can be hard to maintain your spouse’s confidence in you and make them understand your situation during this time. To rebuild your relationship, contact a marriage counselor and seek guidance.
6. Fatigue and Restlessness
Pain can be exhausting. An achy hip, sore back, or bad knee may cause insomnia, restlessness, and chronic stress. It will eat away your motivation to do things, and you will get lesser work done in a day. With severe fatigue, you might not be able to stand up properly or maintain your posture. Fatigue and other symptoms will lead to numerous health conditions and diseases. You must exercise, get more sleep, eliminate bad habits, and eat healthy food to cope with the situation.
7. Affecting Productivity and Performance
Regardless of your position as a top employee in your organization, constant pain can affect your productivity, critical thinking ability, and memory. While managers once commended you for your efforts, you can no longer retain the same concentration. Even if you are not well, businesses require output and efficiency. If you no longer perform in your office like you used to do, you lose chances of securing a better position. All your previous years’ work and efforts will be of no use. You need to reduce the chronic pain, or else you can’t perform activities and tasks you used to ace.
8. Reducing your Abilities to Perform Daily Household Activities
Chronic pain can make it challenging to manage daily activities. Taking care of your children, managing the finances, running errands, and helping your spouse can become overwhelming. Activities you could perform easily have turned out to be challenging. You won’t be able to lift heavy objects while cleaning or moving items. You will need to hire house help, which can be costly. Your family members can help you with daily activities, but this can be hard if they have a busy schedule. After all, you don’t want to be a burden.
9. Hard to Recognize
Sometimes, doctors might not understand if your chronic pain is real or just in your head. Therefore, you should not visit any doctor for your chronic pain. Some special doctors have experience and capabilities to treat chronic pain and manage the pain. Chronic pain can be a severe problem, and failing to consider it a severe problem will affect your mental and physical health. You need to understand the symptoms and risk factors of chronic pain and how it affects your quality of life.
10. Developing Pessimistic Behavior
Chronic pain can cause loss of athletic abilities and physical function, negatively affecting your career, favorite hobby, and close relationships. You need to stop the pain affecting your mental health, but this can be an arduous task if your life quality changes. You will not feel comfortable when you’re overcome by the feeling of grief that you’ve lost your abilities.
Three Ways to Improve your Quality of Life
• Maintain a Pain Journal
A pain journal can be beneficial for you and your doctor. You can keep track of your pain, occurrence, causes, location, and other important issues and share them with your doctor for better treatment. With this information, the doctor can quickly diagnose the condition and provide the best medical help. You can eliminate triggers that induce pain when you are aware of the causes. Doctors suggest many migraine patients maintain a journal to track the severity and duration of their pain. They also mention details such as how they ease pain, what triggers the attack, what makes the pain even worse, when they experience the most pain and the pain level.
• Adopt Good Habit and Eliminate Bad Ones
Maintaining proper nutrition will not only balance the vitamins and minerals in your body, but it maintains your body weight and keep you fit. This way, you can prevent the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disorders due to obesity. In addition, maintaining body weight is crucial for pain management.
According to various studies, losing weight will reduce headache frequency in overweight patients. Also, maintaining your weight can improve osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain and its symptoms (Source).
Limit the consumption of foods high in sugar and saturated fat and processed foods. You can follow an anti-inflammatory diet that reduces your inflammatory responses. These types of food contain antioxidants and are abundant in nutrients. Antioxidants will not cure your chronic condition, but they will help reduce inflammation and avoid free radicals. A proper diet will reduce the symptoms of the condition.
Tobacco will slow down the healing process and increase the pain sensations. This can damage your body and cause various infections. Research suggests that smoking will affect pain resiliency. It increases the activity and connectivity in two regions of the brain. These regions are the medial prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens. This activity and connection will reduce pain resilience.
• Connect with your Loved Ones
Chronic pain will affect you mentally and physically. It will occupy your mind and affect the quality of your life. You can take control over your body and mind by connecting with your loved ones who care for you and are there for you. Seeking help from a close friend and family member will help you cope with the pain and improve your health condition. When someone cares for you and shows affection, you will feel less anxiety and stress. This gives you the confidence to enjoy your life and eliminate pain affecting your life’s quality. Chronic negative stress will increase your pain perception and have a significant impact on your body and mind.
According to numerous studies, stress can lead to various diseases such as diabetes, headaches, depression, obesity, and heart diseases (Source). Maintaining a relationship with people who understand and support you throughout these hard times will give your happiness and reduce stress. Happiness is an essential part of your overall health.
When you experience pain that affects your quality of life, you need to stay focused and broaden your perspective. Think about happiness, love, and the positive impact and support you get from your loved ones. Every day is precious, and you need to make each day count. So appreciate your loved ones and share how important they are in your life. All the techniques mentioned above will help improve the quality of your life.
Disclaimer: The Content is not meant to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek your physician’s advice or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition.