DiDi Davis is Founder of Sweet ReLeaf, a topical cannabis manufacturer located in California. Sweet ReLeaf has created one of the most effective and enjoyable topicals on the market today which is creamy and smells wonderful. As Didi says "We believe in the healing power of plants, specifically how the human endocannabinoid system communicates with the compounds found in Cannabis. We like to call it ‘Intelligent Medicine.’" In her latest post, Didi talks about the silent effects of chronic pain.
Living with Chronic Pain
Somewhere in the US is a man or woman sitting down at a park or walking through a grocery store. They have trained themselves to not wince with every wave of pain. To fight through the stiffening aches that creep in between doses of prescription medications. To act as though they are fine when really they are suffering consistently.
September is National Pain Awareness Month, and to honor those who deal with this daily we’re taking a closer look at their story. We want to help build awareness around what chronic pain actually is, how it affects the lives of those who survive it daily and how those caught in the throws of it can find help.
Depression & Mood Swings
Most of us can’t sit in traffic for longer than a few moments without getting stir-crazy. For the millions who suffer from chronic pain, sitting still has likely become the new normal. Having to opt-out of long walks, hikes, biking trips, team sports, and vigorous household tasks leave many feeling useless and bored. This leads to restlessness, increased stress levels and depression.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, depression in chronic pain patients very often leads to an increase in their originating pain and creating a pain cycle that is very difficult to get out of. While chronic pain can insight bouts of depression, depression tends to increase body stiffness, sleeplessness and stress.
Parenting is an athletic experience, especially for those with children under 5 years of age. Playing on the floor with them, reaching down to kiss an owie, cleaning up after play sessions.
If bending, reaching or standing for long periods of time causes chronic pain flare ups, parenting can prove to be physically and emotionally impossible. Scoliosis survivor and parent of a young daughter, Rachel Rabkin Peachman shared her experiences with The Atlantic: “My daughter was sick, and I desperately wanted to soothe her. But I just couldn’t stand and rock her for one more minute to help her get to sleep.”
Research has shown that children of parents with chronic pain tend to grow up and experience adjustment difficulties, behavioral issues and may even complain about non-specific chronic pain themselves.
Prescription Drug Side Effects
One of the most common treatments for chronic pain is opioid-based oral medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin. While they are highly effective at blocking pain receptors from communicating with the brain, they also come with a slew of side effects.
Side effects from dependency on pain medications can lead to a spiral of prescription drug use in order to combat breathing difficulties, insomnia, constipation and sexual side effects, just to name a few.
Opioid use also has a very high risk for addiction. Over 2 million Americans are addicted to opioid pain relievers and the numbers show no signs of waning.
Financial and Economical Impact
According to health economist studies, the US economy pours over $635 billion into chronic pain per year. This is more than cancer, heart disease and diabetes. These costs trickle down to patients, often causing disastrous consequences to household budgets and financial well-being.
Nationwide, the economical impact comes in many forms. Diminished productivity and the increased cost of healthcare plague businesses, especially those with physically demanding work. Chronic pain is the most common type of long-term disability in the US. The Council for Disability Awareness reported the average disability claim lasts over 2 years. For 1 in 8 workers disability claims can last over 5 years and may even be indefinite.
Tips for Patients
If chronic pain is taking over your life it’s important to reach out for emotional and mental support. Find someone to talk to who can offer guidance on how to co-exist with pain. The American Chronic Pain Association provides a list of tools for those seeking help on their Pain Management Tools page.
Talk to your doctor about alternative options such as medical marijuana or topical cannabis as well as meditative therapies, yoga and alternative physical therapies.
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