The Most Common Reasons that the Pain is Getting Worse
Does it seem like the pain just keeps getting worse and worse? Usually there is a reason why the pain is flaring up or spiraling out of control. You may be surprised by what this doctor thinks is the most common causes for worsening pain.
#10 Worsening Condition: Despite what it may feel like, worsening pain does not necessarily mean that the condition is getting worse. The tissues are probably no more damaged than they used to be. And there is usually not a reason to rush off to get yet another MRI scan. Worsening pain is much more complicated to explain than just worsening tissue damage.
#9 Smoking: Continuing to smoke will cause any medical condition to get worse including pain. The lack of blood circulation and oxygen to the tissues does not provide a good environment for healing to take place. If you think that smoking actually helps your pain, then check out #1, 2, and 3 as the real reason that this could be.
#8 Depression: Depression can hurt especially if the depression is preventing you from experiencing joy and/or preventing you from sleeping or eating right. Yes, depression can hurt in so many ways.
#7 Increased Sugar Consumption: At certain times of the year, you might be eating more sugar than normal, especially around holidays or special events. Spikes in blood sugar can easily trigger more pain because inflammation levels increase as blood sugar levels increase. Sugar leads to more inflammation and inflammation leads to more pain.
#6 Pain Pills: Yes, the frequent use of certain pain pills called the short-acting opioids can cause more pain because of a condition called opioid induced hyperalgesia. The dependency on medications like Vicodin and Norco can cause a frequent cycle of ups and downs like being on a roller coaster. Pain usually gets worse on the roller coaster of chemical dependency.
#5 Change in Activity: A sudden change in your activity level will often cause worsening pain. Keep in mind that no matter what life throws your way, you need to keep a sustainable pace. If your pace is too fast paced, the pain will spiral out of control, every time.
#4 Weather: The weather does effect how much pain you experience. Some experience more pain in the cold weather; some experience more pain in the warm, humid weather. Or maybe that old cranky knee pain feels worse when a storm comes in. The weather affects so much about how you feel including pain.
#3 #2 #1 Stress: Stress is such a huge reason that pain feels worse that it deserves the top three spots on this list. Anxiety, worry, and stress are all activating the brain and nervous system in such a way that makes your body more sensitive to all sorts of aches and pains. Stress alone can even cause pain because of increased amount of tension in the muscles. In turn, anything that helps to relieve stress will also help to relieve pain, but that is not a good reason to continue smoking (See #9)
Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.