Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is a general term for any consistent pain that lasts longer than three months. It affects one in four adults in the UK in some shape or form and can have far-reaching effects on both physical and mental health.


What are the symptoms of chronic pain?

Naturally, the key symptom of chronic pain is pain itself. The three most common forms of chronic pain are back pain, headaches, and joint pain. The cause of the chronic pain will affect where the pain presents itself.

Other side-effects of chronic pain can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Burning sensations
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of stamina and flexibility, due to decreased activity
  • Mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and irritability

These symptoms may also occur at the same time as symptoms from the original condition that causes the chronic pain. It’s always important for a medical professional to be aware of all symptoms and issues to offer the best possible care and treatment plan.


What causes chronic pain?

Chronic pain is often a symptom of another, underlying condition. Such conditions might be:

  • Osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that occurs when the protective cartilage between bones wears away
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes painful inflammation in the joints
  • Back pain, potentially stemming from muscle strains, nerve compression, or arthritis of the spine
  • Fibromyalgia, a neurological condition that causes pain and tenderness in various parts of the body
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Surgical trauma
  • Advanced cancer

Even when these conditions improve, chronic pain symptoms may well endure and need to be treated in their own right. This is often due to a miscommunication between the brain and nervous system, where the brain believes that the body is still in pain from the original condition.

There are also certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of experiencing chronic pain. These include:

  • Those with arthritis
  • Those with depression
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Being over the age of 65

What treatment options are available for chronic pain?

There are two main forms of treatment options available to those suffering from chronic pain: medical and alternative treatments. A doctor will often advise on a combination of treatments, depending on the unique circumstances of the individual, as well as other environmental and behavioural factors.

Medical treatments include:

  • Medications, such as anti-inflammatories, steroids, muscle relaxers, antidepressants, and opioids (in severe cases)
  • Physical therapy, to increase flexibility and range of motion
  • Nerve blockers, to interrupt pain signal.
  • Psychological/behaviour therapy

Alternative forms of therapy may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Hypnosis
  • Yoga

The success of these treatments will largely depend on the individual and the underlying cause of the pain. Of course, when chronic pain is the result of another condition, often treating and curing the original condition can also cure the pain itself.


How can medical cannabis help with chronic pain?

Another form of alternative treatment is medical cannabis. In 2019, a study from the United States provided evidence that patients suffering from chronic pain actually exhibited a significant reduction in pain symptoms when treated with medical cannabis. 

Opioids are often a common choice for helping with chronic pain. Medical cannabis is already being put forward by experts as an alternative medication to opioids, reducing the risk of developing a dependency and other unwanted side-effects. What’s more, this study from 2012 states that cannabis can help lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain. That means fewer opiates are used and reduces the impact of the associated side-effects.

When other forms of treatment prove ineffective, medical cannabis could be an alternative form of treatment that offers much-needed relief. Alleviating symptoms of pain and discomfort can help patients enjoy a better quality of life, regaining independence and strength once more.

Our expert specialist doctors at The Medical Cannabis Clinics seek to raise awareness about how medical cannabis can help those living with chronic pain. They offer private online video link consultations, where patients can explore treatment options and receive personalised care.

Your prescription can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances and needs, with ongoing support and adjustments made as necessary. Appointments start from only £70. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to guide you through your treatment options.

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