September is pain awareness month and as obvious as pain can be, sometimes we still overlook its symptoms and treatments. Everyone has experienced pain in some severity or another, yet many people suffering from chronic migraines, backaches, or general body aches don’t get the care they need.

Misunderstood, Misdiagnosed, and Mistreated

Technology today has advanced so much in the last decade alone that pain is easily detected, whether it’s nerve, joint, or muscle pain. Through systems like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), we can now detect brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, dementia, stroke, infection, spinal fractures, herniated discs, spinal tumors and pinched nerves. We also have the new and improved X-ray, called Computer Tomography, also known as a “CT scan.” This technology is based off of the traditional X-ray, but allows multiple images of different areas to be documented to analyze more efficiently. With all of this ability to detect what is causing us pain, how are so many Americans still struggling to get the help they need?

Some might be misdiagnosed whether because of a misunderstood conversation or a lack of knowledge on the diagnosis. Some patients are even mistreated due to doctors being overcrowded and overbooked. This isn’t to the fault of the doctor or the patient but it can lead to a patient suffering from severe, mistreated pain for years. This finally led to a coalition of groups that participated in the first Pain Awareness Month in September of 2001, making the month of September a time to raise awareness, support the effort, and search for a better solution.

Resources, Programs, and Self-Care

After the initial appointment with a Primary Care Physician (PCP), a referral is required to consult with a doctor in a pain management program. These doctors specialize in treatments as well as prescribed medications and therapy, but they do not diagnose. There are multiple steps to finding a pain management program but the first step is to always consult your PCP first.

The American Chronic Pain Association provides several resources such as Life Resources, Professional Groups, and a diagnosis blog that can be very helpful in managing the pain while waiting for the proper therapy.

Besides the usual research, self care can be found through therapeutic products that offer physical therapy for aching muscles, stiff joints, or anything fractured or sprained. Occasionally some people even experience pain that goes misdiagnosed which can lead to many distracting and uncomfortable aches. Gel solutions are a temporary solution to some and a permanent solution for others, it relieves those aches and pains and offers more mobility for the affected joints. These are commonly used as compression wraps as well.

What might work for others might not work for you, managing untreated or misdiagnosed pain comes with a lot of trial and error, but the end goal makes the journey worth it. The battle against chronic pain doesn’t have to always involve a pain management program, it can be controlled through self care, proper therapeutic solutions, and a good doctor.

While no one should have to suffer from chronic pain, sometimes options can be limited and the best thing to do is to follow the advice of a well educated doctor and continue trying new ways to treat your pain. To give those in pain a choice for pain relief, raise awareness this September and support the ACAP in its journey to better the lives of those suffering from chronic pain.

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