How COVID-19 Affects Patients with Chronic Pain
In 2020, the US was hit with a major pandemic, COVID-19, which is caused by a coronavirus. This has caused much of the population to isolate in their homes and stay away from workplaces, recreational activities, and their regular health and wellness activities. The result of these changes is now being felt; possibly disproportionately more by the statistic that 20% of the US adult population suffers from chronic pain.
Increased Difficulty Maintaining Wellness
Many chronic pain patients have had their regular treatment delayed due to the lack of available resources for clinical visits, patient monitoring, and the necessity to safely prescribe pain-relieving medications. The move away from in-person visits and the increase in telemedicine visits has limited the provider’s ability to perform complete assessments of a patient’s function, as well as delaying or deferring diagnostic testing and elective procedures, both frequently needed in the management of chronic pain.
Elective surgeries, those that can be scheduled in advance and that are not for a life-threatening condition, are also being postponed. This includes hip and other joint replacements, spinal cord stimulator placements, and other surgical procedures that can improve the quality of one’s life. Many of these conditions that were also being managed with physical therapy are being managed in the interim with medications, thus increasing the need, once again, for increased use of opioid pain relievers.
Psychological Stress is Worsening Chronic Pain Symptoms
Further, according to Javed & Huh, (2020) “Psychosocial issues can lead to worsened pain perception; hence, it comes as no surprise that this pandemic has caused psychological stress worsening chronic pain symptoms. Stresses like financial loss, personal loss, anxiety, etc., all can take a toll on a patient’s chronic pain state further exacerbating their symptoms.” This can lead to changes in the chronic pain patient’s mental health stability as well.
With this information at hand, it is important to do what we are best able to do to help our pain using less conventional methods. Here are some techniques you can try at home:
- Heat/cold therapy
- Light physical exercise, as tolerated
- Mental relaxation techniques, meditation
- Music therapy
- Therapeutic massage
You can also reach out to us at 855-KET-WELL to discuss our unique treatment plan for chronic pain. With a 90% success rate, we may be able to help you get the pain relief you deserve!
Javed, S., Hung, J., & Huh, B. K. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on chronic pain patients: a pain physician’s perspective. Pain management, 10(5), 275–277. https://doi.org/10.2217/pmt-2020-0035