Chronic Pain is pain lasting beyond 3 months. This could be due to an underlying condition such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. However, it can also happen without any obvious cause.
Up to 1 in 3 people in Hong Kong suffers from chronic pain. This does not only impact one’s physical health but also mental wellbeing and quality of life.
Pain can feel different to different people. It may be aching, sharp, burning, dull or even stabbing. Regardless of how it feels like- the pain is real!
How is Chronic Pain Diagnosed?
Your GP will take a detailed history of your pain and examine you.
They may discuss various tests needed to rule out physical causes to your pain.
Meanwhile lifestyle changes, such as planning your day ahead to avoid pushing yourself too hard, and learning how to relax and enjoy exercises are equally crucial in chronic pain management.
The doctor will be able to assess and advice on a personalized management plan together with the help of physiotherapists and psychologists.
- I am causing damage if it hurts– FALSE
The level of pain gives a poor indicator to the degree of damage to that body-part. Doing an activity that is painful may not necessarily mean you are causing damage. Going through exercises with a physiotherapist can guide you through safe and manageable exercises to build up your strength and mobility.
- I should stay in bed to rest– FALSE
The good old saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it” pretty much applies to pain and resting. You clearly are allowed to rest for a few days after having pulled a muscle. However, after a few days of rest, one should remind the muscle fibers how to resume back to activity.
- Strong painkillers (opioids) will help manage my pain– FALSE
Opioids may seem to be an effective way to mask pain in the short run. However, long-term this can be dangerous. Opioids are highly addictive and should be managed with caution for people having chronic pain.