Are you suffering from chronic knee or hip pain that just doesn?t seem to go away? Over 50 million Americans currently have arthritis of some type. Yet, many do not seek treatment, because they believe that it is common pain and that it will eventually go away. If you are dealing with chronic pain, it is important to know when to seek medical consultation.
When the pain persists for many months
If your knee or lower back is sore for a couple of days, you might not need medical consultation. However, if the pain persists for many months, it is best to have diagnostic tests like MRI or Xrays completed. Discuss your chronic pain and the length of time that you have been dealing with it with your primary physician. They may order their own diagnostic MRI tests or they might refer you to a neurology professional or orthopedic doctor. Neurologists and orthopedic physicians have more in depth knowledge of chronic pain conditions and might be able to offer you more treatment choices.
When acute pain gets severe
Even if your pain has only been around for a couple of days, if it is severe enough, it warrants a visit with your physician. Acute pain can suddenly onset due to many different medical conditions. It is always best to have any type of severe pain looked at. Chronic back pain is defined as pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer. Anything less than that is considered acute pain. However, it is important to remember that acute pain does not mean that it is less in terms of the type or level of pain.
If you are unable to sleep throughout the night
Sleep is extremely important to healing and to your overall health. If your chronic pain or acute pain is affecting your ability to sleep or your overall sleep quality, you will also want to see a physician. When you are unable to sleep, you are risking your mental health as well. About 59% of chronic pain sufferers reported an impact on their overall enjoyment of life. A lack of sleep can significantly affect the enjoyment of life. Many people may attempt to deal with sleepless nights, not realizing that treatment of their pain could greatly increase the quality of sleep.
If the pain gets worse
Chronic pain is usually a consistent pain that just never goes away. However, if the pain gets worse, it is also important to seek medical consultation. Worsening of pain can indicate that the problem has gotten worse and a new MRI or another type of imaging may be needed. This is another reason that a first MRI is helpful. If the pain gets worse over time, the physician can compare the first MRI to the most recent, and locate any differences that could be contributing to the increase in pain.
If you suffer an injury to the chronic pain area
Dealing with chronic pain often means that you are being careful with the injured part of your body. The body part that experiences chronic pain may be weaker or more subject to reinjury. If you do suffer another injury to the pain area, such as the knees or hips, it is important to schedule a physical checkup and possible, another MRI, as soon as possible. Damaging the area again, especially before it has fully healed, can be problematic. It can prevent the area from healing entirely and surgery might be needed.
Chronic pain is something that many Americans deal with. It affects the quality of life, quality of sleep, and can increase your chances of being injured again. If you are dealing with chronic pain, or even acute pain, it is important to know when to visit your physician. Any changes in pain or any new injuries to the area are especially important to seek medical care. You also want to keep up with MRIs to monitor the area of pain.