With approximately 50 million American adults living with chronic pain, it has become one of the leading health issues in our country.
While you would think that just the fact that so many people suffer every day would be bad enough, according to a new study (like most things in the past year), even dealing with pain can be added to the list of things that have worsened since the pandemic began.
If you’ve noticed you have a harder time dealing with pain, you’re not alone and it’s not your imagination.
In fact, research shows that for victims of chronic pain, the likelihood that you’re feeling worse than ever is off the charts.
A new pandemic: Pandemic pain
The research by the eHealth Lab, a research group affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya’s eHealth Center followed 502 patients who had lived with chronic pain for an average of seven years.
You probably won’t be surprised to find out that a whopping 88 percent of those patients were women since according to doctors at Harvard, the majority of people who suffer from chronic pain are female.
The researchers asked participants to answer online surveys to compare the level of pain they felt before and after the beginning of lockdowns.
And hands-down, participants were experiencing more pain problems post-pandemic.
The results of the research showed that fully 70 percent of the people with chronic pain have seen their condition worsen in terms of:
- Frequency of episodes
- Interference in their daily activities
The pandemic hasn’t only put us at risk of a serious respiratory virus, it’s turned the pain volume up for those suffering from chronic pain.
Fears, worries and loneliness impact our state of mind
According to the researchers, just a few of the causes behind the epidemic of pain include:
- Worries about job security (or job losses)
- Concerns about the future
- Added people in households where family members have lost work
- Fear of becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19
- The grief that comes with having a relative or friend who has died from the virus
Interestingly enough, even the triggers that set off that cascade of chronic pain have transformed with the advent of the pandemic.
While before the lockdowns, the two biggest triggers for most chronic pain sufferers were stress and weather changes, new and more prevalent triggers the study revealed are:
- Lack of activity
- Negative thoughts
- Problems sleeping
- Worries about the future
- Fear of catching the virus
Changes in coping mechanisms
The study also showed that post-pandemic, chronic pain patients are even changing the way they cope with pain, with more people than ever before turning to rest and medications to manage their symptoms.
Sadly, as the researchers point out, both of these methods can have negative consequences since lack of activity can actually increase perceived pain levels and drugs can result in dependence, addiction and an ever-increasing pain cycle.
In fact, the only good news out of the study was that almost 50 percent of people have added in a stretching regimen (a healthy and effective choice) for pain management.
Safe, natural options for pain relief
So what can you do if you’re one of the 70 percent of chronic pain sufferers who feels even worse since last March?
Well, a few natural options to help find pain relief in addition to stretching include:
#1 – Mindfulness exercises
Mindfulness exercises, like meditations, have been shown in studies to help you cope with your pain and even overcome symptoms of depression to help you live your life better and happier.
#2 – Vitamin D
The sunshine vitamin is known for its ability to alter your body’s inflammatory response as well as how it perceives pain. This is thought to be the reason that low levels of vitamin D3 higher levels of inflammatory and pain-related conditions, including fibromyalgia and rheumatic diseases.
#3 – Black cumin seed oil
This little-known supplement (also called Nigella Sativa) helps to target your immune system, put out the fires of inflammation and calm your body’s natural pain signals.
#4 – Chiropractic care
Spinal manipulation can help you deal with your chronic back or neck pain, helping you get back to your life. Chiropractors are trained spinal specialists who can also help you with issues like posture and biomechanics to achieve more complete relief.
Worsening chronic pain may be a byproduct of the pandemic. But there are things you can do to feel better. Add stretching into your daily life, see a qualified chiropractor and take the natural supplements that have been shown to provide superior relief.
Editor’s note: If you suffer from chronic pain and conventional medicine has let you down, or you just want to escape the potential dangers of OTC and prescription drugs, you should know nature’s pharmacy comes well-stocked with remedies for pain! Click here to find the relief you need now!
Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Women and pain: Disparities in experience and treatment — Harvard Health Publishing