Common pain and pain relief myths
What you don't know about pain and pain relief can hurt you. Great strides have been made in the understanding of pain and its treatment in the last decade. Pain that was once considered beyond help is now manageable.
Medical evidence proves that many of the beliefs about pain and pain relief are false. Here's what experts say you should know about five of the most common pain relief myths.
Pain relief myth one: No pain, no gain.
This myth persists among bodybuilders and weekend athletes. Yet there is no evidence to support the notion that you can build strength by exerting muscles to the point of pain. The idea that you can "work through the pain" is also not true. Resting to repair muscles and bring pain relief might not be macho, but it's the sensible thing to do. You may also need to modify your exercise routine with cross training which could mean lighter, more frequent workouts and wearing the correct shoes.
Pain relief myth two: It's all in my head.
Pain is a complex problem, involving both the mind and the body. For instance, back pain has no known cause in most cases and stressful life events can make it worse. But that doesn't mean it isn't real. Pain is an invisible problem that others can't see, but that doesn't mean it's all in your head.
Pain relief myth three: I just have to live with the pain.
There are countless options for pain relief. They include relaxation techniques, exercise, physiotherapy, over-the-counter and prescription medicines, surgery and complementary treatments such as acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic and massage. It may not always be possible to completely control your pain, but there are many techniques that can help you manage it better.
Pain relief myth four: Only sissies go to the doctor for pain relief.
Older adults are more prone than their children or grandchildren to "grin and bear it”. Enduring the occasional headache or minor sports injury is one thing. But putting up with chronic pain can impair your functioning and quality of life. It can lead to depression, fatigue from loss of sleep, anxiety, inability to work and impaired relationships.
Most pain can and should be treated effectively. If you are suffering from pain, you owe it to yourself to make an appointment with your doctor. Relief may be just around the corner.
Pain relief myth five: I'll get addicted to the pain relief medicine.
Doctors begin with a conservative approach to pain relief and prescribe non-opioid pain-relief medicines which are not addictive. Doctors may prescribe opioids, such as codeine and morphine, if pain becomes severe, such as when treating cancer pain. Many people fear that they will become addicted to opioids. Physical dependence is not the same thing as addiction. And, physical dependence isn't a problem as long as you do not stop taking the opioids suddenly. Addiction is rarely a problem, unless you have a history of drug or alcohol addiction. If you do, discuss this with your doctor.