When it arrives, you know it. Whether dull or sharp, you feel it. And, no matter what, you want it to go away, because it hurts! We’re talking about pain – chronic, physical pain.
Unfortunately, we all experience pain in our lives. Sometimes it’s pain from a bad cut, or a tension headache after a stressful day, or a crick in the neck from sleeping in an awkward position. But for too many Americans, it’s a more persistent, chronic pain that comes back again and again – most often back pain, headaches, and pain from arthritis, the three most common types of pain. In some cases, pain can be positive, like when it tells us that something is wrong. That alert may prevent a more serious injury or illness. But there’s nothing positive about pain that forces us to miss work, to be unable to play with our kids, to feel depressed.
Which is why it’s so important to know that pain is treatable. If someone tells you “it’s all in your head” or to “just ignore it,” ignore them! With so many treatment options available, your responsibility is to work with your physician to find the right one, whether that turns out to be a mind-body approach, Eastern medicine, or taking supplements. And to do that, you need to be educated. Here, we look at the latest research on pain, various treatment options, plus how diet and exercise play a role.