Chronic pain, unmedicated and just by itself, causes measurable biological damage affecting our physical and mental health. I wish more people knew this so they’d stop assuming that “pain won’t kill you, but opioids will”.
The opposite is true: Constant pain, in addition to causing physical harm, impairs and eventually destroys your Quality of Life (see tag “suicide” for more links to chronic pain).
Chronic pain will make you wish for death, but opioids will only kill you if you take much more than prescribed.
So I decided to update the older list/reference page of posts about various kinds of Bodily Damage from Uncontrolled Chronic Pain by starting a second page:
Bodily Damage from Uncontrolled Chronic Pain Part 2 has more recent posts starting September 2017 up to December 2019
(You can also use tag ‘PAIN-DAMAGE‘ to find them all posts on this topic)
VA study uncovers critical link between pain intensity and suicide attempts – Oct 2019
Here’s the earthshattering conclusion of a new study:
New study finds pain intensity is a telling risk factor for suicide!
Apparently, this is BIG news for the medical community. They’ve never found such results before – probably because no one has studied it.
It saddens me that most people still don’t understand how devastating chronic pain becomes, how it upends lives and sometimes cuts them short. Continue reading
Chronic Pain Accelerates Dementia — Pain News Network – By Dr. Lynn Webster, PNN Columnist – Sep 2019
In 2017, JAMA Internal Medicine published a study that found older people with chronic pain experience faster declines in memory and are more likely to develop dementia.
While prior research had shown a link between chronic pain and brain damage, this was one of the first studies to specifically suggest that chronic pain can cause dementia.
I have a whole list of posts about the wide-ranging mental and physical damages of chronic pain: Bodily Damage from Uncontrolled Chronic Pain Continue reading
Suicidal Thoughts Linked to Pain in Those with Rheumatic or Musculoskeletal Disease – By Janice Wood – July 2019
A new survey highlights the significant impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) on mental health.
The survey of more than 900 RMD patients revealed that pain had caused one in 10 to have suicidal thoughts in the previous four weeks. Pain also caused 58 percent to feel that everything was unmanageable for them.
This is a feeling I know only too well: the sinking sensation every time I think about how I’m going to get through this life, feeling completely overwhelmed by even trivial tasks, running around in mental circles looking for a way out of an unbearable situation… Continue reading
Chronic pain is associated with a brain aging biomarker in community-dwelling older adults: PAIN – PAIN: May 2019 – Research Paper
This “finding” doesn’t surprise me one bit; my mental faculties have long been deteriorating faster than others in my cohort.
Chronic pain is associated with brain atrophy with limited evidence on its impact in the older adult’s brain.
We aimed to determine the associations between chronic pain and a brain aging biomarker in persons aged 60 to 83 years old
Individuals with chronic pain (n = 33) had “older” brains for their age compared with those without. Continue reading
Not All Pain Is the Same: Characterizing the Extent of High-Impact Chronic Pain – painresearchforum.org – Epidemiological findings highlight the need for patient-centered care – by Stephani Sutherland – Apr 2019
Chronic pain exacts a huge toll on patients, healthcare systems, and the economy. But the way that chronic pain is typically defined—by how long it lasts—provides little information about
- the people suffering from chronic pain,
- the degree to which they are affected, and
- how to best treat them.
These days, chronic pain seems defined mostly by how many milligrams of an opioid need to be taken to make it bearable. The patient’s specific condition is considered irrelevant.
This is a sad side effect of medical pain: because it is only perceptible to the patient suffering from it, the easily accessible numerical measure of medication is used instead (scientific laziness, bordering on fraud). Continue reading
Effective Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain in Humans Reverses Abnormal Brain Anatomy and Function | Journal of Neuroscience – Free full-text article – May 2011
Though also not new, this study is a follow up on an earlier post: Brain abnormalities are Consequence Not Cause of pain (2009). The article below contains dozens of links to further information.
Chronic pain is associated with reduced brain gray matter and impaired cognitive ability.
In this longitudinal study, we assessed whether neuroanatomical and functional abnormalities were reversible and dependent on treatment outcomes. Continue reading
Brain Gray Matter Decrease in Chronic Pain Is the Consequence and Not the Cause of Pain | Journal of Neuroscience – Nov 2009
If you can reverse brain “damage” by effectively treating the patient’s chronic pain, it seems pretty clear that the chronic pain was the cause.
This means we don’t have to accept the idea that abnormalities in our brains are what’s causing our pain (which some have hinted at).
Recently, local morphologic alterations of the brain in areas ascribable to the transmission of pain were reported in patients suffering from chronic pain.
Although some authors discussed these findings as damage or loss of brain gray matter, one of the key questions is whether these structural alterations in the cerebral pain-transmitting network precede or succeed the chronicity of pain. Continue reading
When Chronic Pain Takes Away Your Life – By Peter Abaci, MD – Dec 2018
I find it unusual for a doctor to think about this, let alone write about it.
Pain changes us.
The minute we start to hurt, we make adaptions to how we move, what we do, and where we go.
This makes me think Dr. Abacci really does understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain. Continue reading
Andy Murray Announces Retirement This Year – By Ben Rothenberg – Jan. 10, 2019
Still struggling with a hip injury that has limited him since June 2016, Andy Murray announced Friday that he would retire after this year’s Wimbledon — if not sooner.
‘I cannot keep doing this,’” Murray said in an emotional news conference in Melbourne. “I needed to have an end point because I was sort of playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop. I felt like making that decision.
The never-ending aspect of pain is exactly what causes so much distress. We can “put up with” serious pain as long as there’s an end in sight, like when we’re healing from surgery. But when every day brings the same pain without possible relief, normal activities become very difficult. Continue reading