How Chronic Pain Can Impact Your Moods

Your body transmits pain signals to let you know something is wrong when you suffer an injury or develop a condition. In most cases, the discomfort goes away within a few weeks once the underlying cause of your pain resolves. 

Unfortunately for more than 45 million Americans, pain doesn’t go away and can last several weeks, months, or years. The ongoing pain, called chronic pain, affects your physical, social, financial, and mental health. The emotional toll chronic pain takes on your life also impacts your mood.

At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Germantown, and Waldorf, Maryland, our pain management and orthopedic experts, Dr. Matthew Roh and Dr. Ojedapo Ojeyemi, specialize in helping people who suffer from chronic pain. Our team understands how your pain affects your mood and your quality of life.

Chronic pain is emotionally stressful

No matter the cause or severity of your chronic pain, no doubt you find the ongoing discomfort stressful. Stress is a natural physical response your body uses to help you manage unexpected or life-threatening situations. During stressful events, your body releases hormones and chemicals that increase your energy levels and make you more alert. 

However, chronic pain causes chronic stress, which means your body is overloaded with stress hormones that change the neurochemicals in your brain that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior. This may be why you feel more irritable or angry.  

Chronic pain limits life activities

Of the 45 million Americans who struggle with chronic pain, 19 million experience high-impact chronic pain, which means their pain limits one or more major life activity. This may include your ability to work, socialize with friends and family, or take part in activities that bring you joy.

Losing your ability to participate in a major life activity affects your self-esteem and self-confidence. The negative effects of these major life changes may worsen your mood and exacerbate your pain.  

Chronic pain, depression, and anxiety

Between the pain and life changes, it may not be too surprising to learn that people who suffer from chronic pain are four times more likely to develop depression and anxiety

Depression is a serious mood disorder that causes persistent sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness. It affects how you feel, think, and behave and may interfere with your ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Your depression may also worsen your pain condition.

Anxiety is a mental health condition that causes you to feel excessive worry, fear, and nervousness during normal everyday activities. For example, you may fear going to the grocery store because the activity may require movements that exacerbate your pain. 

Multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain

Chronic pain is a complex condition, and no single treatment works for all people. When you come in to see us for management of your chronic pain condition, we conduct a thorough exam to get to the root cause of your problem so we can develop a targeted treatment plan.

Though we offer many innovative therapies for the treatment of pain, including specialized injections and platelet-rich plasma (PRP), we may also refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist who can address the emotional impact of your chronic pain. 

Chronic pain is a serious and complex medical issue that affects every aspect of your life and health. For expert care, contact us by calling the office nearest you or booking an appointment online.

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