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If you are having aches, you aren’t alone as there are around 100 million Americans that have some kind of chronic pain that is the long-term kind that sticks around after an injury or illness. Millions more have some sort of short-term pain. Some types of pain are more common during a certain time in your life. If you know ahead of time to plan for them, you might even avoid irritation or injury in the first place, according to Jonathan L. Glashow, MD, chief of sports medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Common types of Chronic Pain in Americans and Ways to Help ease the Ache:
1. Lower Back Pain.
This is the most common chronic pain. Those having no back injury and under 50 is usually the result of sitting for long stretches and putting too much pressure on the discs in your back. Back pain is more likely to occur during your 30’s and 40’s, but can happen at any age. Older adults are definitely more likely to have back pain from conditions like arthritis. Strength training and cardio exercise are helpful as they increase blood flow and help to build your core muscles that support your spine. Physical therapy is an option.
Those migraines, and even regular ones can cause other symptoms, like nausea, and are the second most common type of chronic pain. The cause of why we have headaches isn’t known by the experts, but they can be triggered by things like muscle tension, dehydration, your period, stress, weather changes, and certain foods like chocolate. If it’s just in the forehead and temple area it could be a tension headache so massage the area or apply menthol cream. Meds like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or one especially for migraines that contain caffeine, acetaminophen or aspirin can offer relief but don’t take it for more than 3 days without consulting with your doctor.
This happens when the protective cartilage between your joint and bone breaks down and causes pain in the hands, knees and hips. Staying physically active is the key as it keeps blood circulating that can keep your joints healthy and reduce pain while strengthening the muscles around the joint.
4. Non-Arthritis Joint Pain
This feels like it is in or around the joints and isn’t the result of OA. This is usually tendinitis and makes it tough or painful to get moving. It’s caused by activities that involve repetitive motions and likely to strike over age 40. Use RICE, which means rest, ice, compression and elevation. Take a break from the activities that might aggravate your joint.
5. Pelvic Pain
If not caused by your period, it may be the result of another condition like endometriosis or Irritable bowel syndrome. This is more likely to strike between the ages of 18 and 50. Ask your natural doctor what he or she suggest instead of hard pain meds or Over-the-counter pain meds can help but call your doctor if you have below-the-belt pain that lasts very long.
6. Carpal Tunnel
When a nerve runs from your arm to your palm and becomes pressed or squeezed, this causes pain in your fingers and wrist, numbness and/or tingling and is carpal tunnel. Most likely to strike during your mid-40’s to mid-60’s. Physical therapy and short-term use of over-the-counter pain relievers will help, but in some cases surgery is the best treatment.
7. Muscle Strain or Pain
With age your muscle fibers become less dense and makes them less flexible and prone to injury and soreness. With every passing decade you are more likely to get this type of strain. Avoid hurting yourself in the first place by not lifting, pushing or pulling heavy items without help. Stretching and exercises like yoga and Pilates can help with this.
Dr Fredda Branyon