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Managing Pain Of Unknown Origin: How To Find Relief When You Don't Know What's Wrong

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Chronic pain is bad enough, but when your doctor can't identify the source or cause of your pain, it's even worse. You can't really receive the right treatment if the actual condition isn't known, making the process of managing your pain difficult to impossible. In the meantime, basic day-to-day living becomes challenging as the constant pain gradually wears away your energy and motivation. If you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on, because nobody should have to endure such an unbearable plight.

1. Don't Take This Personally: Your Doctor Doesn't Think You're Crazy

Even if you've been to a number of different doctors, who, one after the other, shake their heads when trying to diagnose the source of your pain, don't take the situation personally. If a doctor can't figure out what's going on with you, there's no ethical way for them to claim otherwise, offering you treatment for what they can't identify. As much as you may feel they think you're off your rocker, in reality, they simply haven't got the right clues that will reveal the true nature of your medical mystery. They might attempt to attribute your agony to age, stress or some other factor, which will really drive you mad, because you know otherwise; however, they're simply trying their best to in a very difficult situation.

Keep up your efforts to get to the root cause of your discomfort and distress, and don't add to it by assuming all your doctors think you're a hypochondriac or otherwise don't know what you're talking about. Your pain is real, even if nobody can tell you what's causing it.

2. Experiment With Different Pain Management Techniques

You know your body better than anyone else, and if your doctor hasn't yet been able to prescribe some remedy, there are safe measures you can try on your own. If you're not certain about side effects or other complications, be sure and check with your doctor's office before trying anything. Even if a method doesn't make your pain go away permanently, you might find some temporary relief, and that's better than nothing:

  1. Relaxation techniques could help, which is not to suggest that your pain is stress related, just that being overly anxious all the time may lead to chronic issues, such as pain or low immunity. Relaxing more might have additional benefits, too, such as improved memory and sleep.
  2. Physical therapy could offer some relief, depending on where your pain is located. Ask your doctor if guided stretches might strengthen supportive muscles or otherwise help to decrease your discomfort.
  3. Massage is something nearly everyone finds soothing and enjoyable, so perhaps a weekly session could ease tensions in your body or at least give you a few moments of pain-free enjoyment.
  4. Topical medicines sometimes ease pain and make movement easier; thus, if you have a sore back or joints, a refreshing eucalyptus ointment could provide short-term escape.
  5. Yoga is practiced by over 20 million Americans, and even if it doesn't solve your pain problem, it can do wonders for your mind and body, as well as getting you out and among people.
  6. Acupuncture or chiropractic healing might also helpful for certain issues.
  7. An evaluation by a certified nutritionist your doctor recommends could provide you with beneficial insight into how what you eat affects how you feel and how changing your diet could help you feel better.

When pain is really bad, you'll try just about anything for it; however, it's important that you don't go overboard or follow any practice that's too far from the normal spectrum. Doing so might actually worsen your condition and just leave you feeling more frustrated.

3. Evaluate Your Lifestyle With Brutal Honesty

Different lifestyles can have different impacts on individuals, and even if you've spent a lifetime drinking coffee or alcohol with little or no adverse side effects, doing so could bother your body now. If you aren't getting enough sleep, too, your health could be compromised in a number of ways. Even the home you live in should come under scrutiny when you're attempting to uncover a health mystery, as many things in your immediate environment could be wreaking havoc on your system, from black mold hidden in the basement of your home to formaldehyde lurking in your office building. If you're exposed to black mold, you might experience headaches and joint pain, among other symptoms, but if you don't know it's in your home, both you and your doctor may never think of it as a culprit for your pain.

Breathing in different toxins at work can also lead to generalized illnesses which could compromise your immune system, possibly leading to different problems with pain. Inspect your environment and examine how you treat your body. You may find clues from such an investigation that will lead you to more specific information about the pain you're in. But then again, maybe you lead a very clean and healthy life and go out of your way to avoid environmental toxins; in this case, you'll have to continue looking elsewhere for answers.

4. Ask To Be Referred To Specialists

It's just as frustrating for your doctor to not know what's causing your symptoms, so talk extensively with them to determine who could help you the most when it comes to specialists. You might be directly referred to a pain management practitioner, or you could be sent to a physician who focuses on the particular part of the body where you're feeling pain. Either way, it should be a polite discussion where you and your primary doctor mutually decide on what the next best step for you should be because there should definitely be a next step if your pain has not been resolved.

Keep a strong support network in your life, even if your pain makes you feel like hiding away from the world. Surround yourself with as much positive as you can and work with the medical professionals you're assigned to and hopefully, you'll find answers and relief soon.