They called it a hard, hard landing…
A helicopter crash left John with chronic back pain and a traumatic brain injury. Swamped with painful memories, at first he turned to drinking to manage his depression. His commitment to taking care of his children gave him a reason to stop drinking and to reach out for help from VA.
What is chronic pain?
Do you have an injury that doesn’t seem to get better? Are you often irritable because of constant physical discomfort? Is it difficult to stand, walk, sit, or do everyday tasks? These can all be signs of chronic pain.
When a person experiences pain in one or more areas of the body, such as the neck, head, arm, or leg, for at least three to six months, it is considered chronic pain. The pain may be nagging or severe and often seems worse than short-term pain because of its prolonged duration. General wear and tear from aging, as well as different types of illnesses and injuries, can cause chronic pain.
Some Veterans have chronic pain from lasting effects of injuries that occurred in the military, such as a “phantom limb” after an amputation or back or spinal cord damage after an accident. Many times, injuries suffered in military training or during deployment may seem to have healed, but as you age, they can re-emerge and become a source of chronic pain. Often it is hard to figure out the source of long-term pain.
“In combat, I had no other option than to ‘suck up’ the pain and ‘drive on.’ But now that I’m back, it’s a relief to know there are ways for me to cope with it.”
Many people experience chronic pain at some point in their lives. Chronic pain can hinder or even prevent common, day-to-day activities like sitting, standing, and waiting in line. Many people who deal with chronic pain find the constant experience of pain and the restrictions it places on their daily activities makes them feel down or irritable. Some people become depressed or hopeless if they think the pain will never end or there is nothing they can do about it.
When it comes to chronic pain, you don’t have to just live with it. Depending on what’s causing the pain, there are various options for chronic pain treatment, such as:
- Physical therapy to increase your level of pain-free activity
- Therapy or counseling to change the way you relate to or cope with your pain
- Relaxation and mindfulness techniques to manage the stress of chronic pain
- In some cases, advanced medications or other treatments to reduce the level of severe pain
If I’m experiencing chronic pain, what can I do about it right away?
If you are experiencing chronic pain, there are a few things you can do to deal with your symptoms and improve your well-being:
- Tell your doctor about it. He or she can help develop a treatment plan for you.
- Educate yourself on your condition so you can decide on the best options for managing your pain.
- Keep a “pain diary,” where you can record your progress with pain and how it affects your life.
- Find ways to stay physically active, according to the recommendations of your doctor.
Your friends and family members have likely noticed that your chronic pain is affecting your life. Talking to them can be especially helpful as you look for the type of chronic pain treatment that is right for you.
NEED HELP NOW?
Call The Veterans Crisis Line at (800) 273-8255 And Press 1. Or Send A Text Message To The Veterans Crisis Line At 838255.
Free, confidential support 24 / 7 / 365.
Give the San Jose Vet Center a call, at (408) 993-0729 to get back to your best life.
CALL – EVEN ANONYMOUSLY
San Jose Vet Center is open:
7 AM to Midnight on weekdays
8 AM to 4:30 PM on weekends (including holidays)
Give them a call to get back to your best life. (408) 993-0729.