Chronic Pain Syndrome
A severely challenging condition threatening patients today is chronic pain syndrome. This occurs when various parts of the body and mind come together is a constantly recurring cycle of pain throughout the body. When it occurs, chronic pain syndrome can also affect certain areas of the body after they have been injured, wounded, or operated upon. The pain can be general or it may be concentrated, such as in the temples, legs, hands, or chest and back. A skilled physician experienced in observing chronic pain syndrome can assign this diagnosis and track the symptoms in their quality, severity, and consistency.
The hard part about treating chronic pain syndrome is that to many people it sounds like the typical complaining any patient might do. But the persistence of this kind of pain, its general presence, and the way it avoids being treated by drugstore or over-the-counter painkillers is one clue that chronic pain syndrome is present. Another trait of chronic pain syndrome is that it can subsume after a burst of general health, but then after a period the overall condition can suffer. The patient’s health will weaken and then the chronic pain syndrome can re-emerge when the patient’s overall sense of well-being or general health correspondingly weakens.
For reasons such as these, people in the main confuse chronic pain syndrome with “getting run down”. People in good health maintain regular cycles of endorphins and a balance of hormone. But depression and chronic pain sufferers actually alter the chemicals in their body and brain over a period of time when their behavior alters. Self-injury and accidents can occur as patients become more clumsy and careless dealing with another day in pain. Their impulses to deal with their stress and pain do not take healthy roads and the results can be seen in the way people stop taking care of themselves.
But with chronic pain syndrome, damaged nerves can keep up live pain enactions upon the central nervous system and mind long after the flesh and other damaged or diseased areas have been repaired. The axons of neurons keep firing and “informing” the brain of pain that in fact is no longer being inflicted. The patient feels pressure and the slightest sensation with a magnification that few nurses initially can credit. Just getting dressed, driving, and/or working activities can be physically and mentally impossible for some patients with chronic pain syndrome.
This can affect patients recovering from a long disease, suffering from other conditions at the same time, or suffering from chronic pain as a complication of other conditions, wounds, or diseases of the body. The physical treatment of the chronic pain syndrome also involves attention paid to the creative fulfillment, intellectual stimulation, connection to nature and energetic physical endeavors of the patient to put balance back into their routine. But many patients suffering from chronic pain syndrome are not ready for these interventions yet.
Not by medication alone can chronic pain syndrome be treated. And in some cases, patients will report as few as a two to three hours a day or even in one week when they can handle activities such as writing, reading, reviewing accounts, discussing business affairs, or even concentrating on complex ideas or complicated matters. The patient recognizes this loss even as they battle it being lost. The mental attitude of a chronic pain syndrome patient cannot convert chronic pain into nothingness, but a sharpened perspective and a better-motivated alertness to the positive side of things can assist in keeping the chronic pain from controlling and ruining one’s life.
Nurses taking care of patients with chronic pain syndrome will have some difficulty moving them out of a mode of lethargy and into a spirit of motivated exercise. Movement is a key way to change the ingrained tendencies toward “moping” and dwelling on the pain that chronic pain syndrome involves. Patients such as this need to be urged to get out once in a while, make lists of things they like to do and schedule them. Sufferers of chronic pain syndrome must take an active role in combating the wear and tear of the disease. The behavioral aspect of their choices can overtake their neurobiological symptoms.
Chronic pain patients, especially the elderly, develop patterns of coping with their pain that may not seem helpful to outsiders. But survivors of wounds, attacks, diseases, and other complicated life events will nurse problematic chronic pain conditions for the rest of their lives. This is in contrast to the acute care approach to many painful issues in the otherwise straightforward assistance that urgent care patients receive. But long-term care and elderly patients will usually have an onset of chronic pain syndrome with the severely worsening of arthritis, osteoarthritis, sciatica, and back pain.
Unfortunately, not a lot of physicians train or prepare their patients on how to deal with chronic pain syndrome psychologically. Pharmaceutically the plan of care can treat the pain as it occurs or worsens. But the ongoing struggle with the challenges of chronic pain syndrome, complex and long standing, are unique to the individual patient in many cases. Because many chronic pain sufferers avoid public places, noise, chaotic events like concerts or music clubs, and unpredictable and physically demanding environments, they develop a coping system of this avoidance and they become viewed as “shut-ins”. The outsider observes the behavior of avoidance and misses the fact that there is reason and a pattern of behavior behind it. The patient is just trying to avoiding trigger situations where their chronic pain can be set off.
Nurses can keep an eye on their chronic pain syndrome patients and counsel them about their health. Nurses and case managers can provide helpful advice about how to spend their free time as well as enhance the attention paid to details other than their vital statistics and medication schedules. Such patients may be suffering from depression because of their inability to deal with their chronic pain syndrome. Nurses spend a good deal of time talking with patients. They hear how the patients speak of themselves. These patients may need to learn to interrupt negative belief systems, they may need encouragement and praise, and they may need to find ways to reward themselves and learn new ways of spending their time.
Sufferers of chronic pain may give out signals that friends and relatives do not understand. And chronic pain sufferers do not like to advertise how much pain they are in. They can mask their problems with overeating, Internet surfing, “quick-hit fixes” like smoking, video games, light movies or soft drinks. These activities can hijack feelings of serious ongoing pain in extremities, the temples , in the lower back or neck, et cetera. Sufferers of chronic pain may not understand that they have a serious problem, and may simply put their issues down to emotional problems or being unsuccessful at functioning to a higher standard.
Patients dealing with chronic pain syndrome will plot ways to avoid dealings with their pain by avoiding exercise or going out, to compare themselves unfavorably with others. They know their health is in decline, they just may not understand why. Chronic pain victims will isolate themselves and often appear erratic and eccentric. Chronic pain sufferers can cope with sudden and uncontrollable pain by stomping their feet,(to displace nerve pain) drinking, (to numb the nerve pain) watching TV, (for distraction), playing music (to give the pain white noise to play against) , and/or driving too fast, (because they can’t control the pain in their limbs and leg nerves). Or, when suffering from unpredictable intensities of chronic pain patients may cancel appointments and social engagements because they can’t anticipate when the pain will peak.
The solution to a problem with chronic pain is to concoct a care plan with many moving parts . This plan then becomes the patient’s responsibility to keep those moving parts improving and going, growing and becoming better. These are significant goals that can alter the quality of life for sufferers of chronic pain syndrome. The many motifs in a successful care plan for chronic pain syndrome are simply a roadmap to access all the information involved and plot a best case scenario. A nurse can assist any patient in the parts of the care plan they feel most comfortable with. Sometimes just visualizing a better frame of mind or achieving small goals can be helpful to the health of the patient. Nurses should refer their patients showing symptoms to chronic nerve pain specialists, or care plan managers.