Chronic pain is very disruptive and a priority in our treatment. Chronic pain lasts longer than a few weeks or months, quickly draining your energy and time. It can also require changes in sitting, moving, and sleeping.

While a creaky knee or ailing shoulder is easy to locate, the underlying cause of the pain isn’t always so obvious. Conditions such as diabetic nerve pain might have multiple causes since the person with the pain actually has a whole-body health condition. Aggravating factors can also make such pain feel even worse.

Our team is dedicated to finding the cause of your underlying pain and treating it. When you come to us, we’ll systematically analyze your physical condition and any lifestyle factors that may be influencing your condition or how your body processes pain signals. The following overview will help you understand our diagnostic process for chronic pain.

Your Body’s History

When trying to find the source of your chronic pain, it’s important to understand your body’s history. While you may have recovered well enough from an earlier car accident to resume your everyday routine, micro-injuries or other conditions, such as chronic sleep deprivation, may linger for months or years. Sometimes multiple factors compound the problem, causing complex pain syndromes that can make diagnosis and treatment much more difficult.

For this reason, when you come to our practice, we take a comprehensive health history that includes surgeries, accidents, and a range of physical stresses your body may have experienced. This health history enhances our understanding of your condition and can provide supportive evidence for assessments, including:

  • Detailed physical examination
  • DynaROM soft tissue injury testing
  • Functional movement observation
  • Posture analysis
  • Nutritional assessment

Although our comprehensive chiropractic health assessment includes many more items, these tests can give us results that verify your health history.

Chronic Health Conditions

Chronic health conditions can both cause and result from chronic pain. By chronic health conditions, we mean diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity. These long-term conditions worsen over time if they’re not adequately treated.

Many of these conditions are related to or worsened by lifestyle factors. These include diet, exercise, and stress management. Since these factors are associated with chronic health conditions, they can all cause or heighten pain sensitivity.

Medication Side Effects

One frequently overlooked cause of chronic pain is, paradoxically, the medication used to treat chronic pain. With time, your body can develop a tolerance to many pain medications. This tolerance makes your body need increasingly high doses of the medication to mask the pain.

All prescription medications have a predictable pattern of metabolization. This means they offer peak pain relief during certain times and wear off. Unfortunately, pain can sometimes feel dramatically worse between doses. Withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, or headache can intensify pain.

Journal Chronic Pain

Journaling is a helpful tool for various chronic conditions, including pain. While commercially prepared journals are available, you can also use a paper notebook or open a document on your smartphone to record your chronic pain. The contents of your journal are much more important than its appearance or form. Some of the most important areas you can journal include:

  • Sleep
  • Sleep
  • Work
  • Stress
  • Exercise

The following guidelines will explain the importance of these factors as well as helpful hints for recording them in your journal.

Sleep Quality and Patterms

Sleep is the foundation of health. When you sleep, your tissues regenerate, and your brain processes many daily experiences so you can learn from them. You also awake refreshed with energy to tackle a new day.

Conversely, when you don’t sleep, you have difficulty maintaining focus including persevering in remaining healthy. You also have difficulty remembering and processing pain signals properly. In fact, recent research has found insufficient sleep is both a cause and an effect of chronic pain.

When you journal sleep, you should include the number of hours you slept, when you fell asleep, and if you awoke during the night. When you wake up, you can also document any physical or mental symptoms as well as anything that made it difficult to sleep or helped improve the quality of your sleep.

Dietary Issues

Diet is a crucial element for good health. Your choice of foods can also impact your chronic pain. Wholesome foods such as fresh produce and healthy grains can optimize your body’s functioning.

Inflammation happens in the body because of disease and injury. When you have a cut, for example, the area will often turn red, get warm, and become inflamed or swollen. In this instance, inflammation is helpful, although it temporarily causes additional pain.

When inflammation becomes long-term or is widespread throughout the body, it can cause additional health issues. In addition to disease or a slow-to-heal injury, diet can also increase levels of inflammation in the body. This can set you up for a long-term state of poor healing, chronic disease, and chronic pain.

Tracking what foods you eat and how much of them you are eating are good places to begin, but you shouldn’t stop there. Please be sure to include your beverages and when you eat or drink. If you’re prone to stress eating or forget to eat during challenging times, describing your emotional state can also be useful.

Occupational Factors

If you work a traditional schedule, you spend close to one-third of your time at work. As a result, what you do at the office can have a significant impact on your health. Many desk jobs require hours of sitting, making it hard to fit healthy movement into your day. Other jobs include a lot of similar movements throughout the day, which can trigger repetitive motion strain syndromes.

Whether you work at a desk or an unloading dock, your work life is stressful. Stress is more than feeling bad. Due to the powerful mind-body connection, stress can lead to a cascade of powerful biochemical reactions that can increase your risk of disease or worsen chronic pain. As a result, the work portion of your journal should focus on your daily activities as well as how you felt during them.

Movement Choices

How you move is a choice you make that has the potential to nurture your body or harm it. Gentle stretching, taking the stairs, or walking during your lunch break are a few ways you can incorporate healthful movement into your day. When you’re journaling your movement choices, please be honest and document what you did during the day as well as the quality of your movement and how it made you feel.

Let Us Find the Underlying Causes of Your Chronic Pain and Treat Them

If you’re experiencing chronic pain, then we have excellent news for you. Our expert chiropractic medical team is equipped to diagnose and treat it. Please book an appointment with our Denver Chiropractic team for a comprehensive pain management consultation to get the relief you need.