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Facts vs myths: Things to know about chronic pain

Posted November 1

People who deal with chronic pain often have symptoms that ebb and flow – pain will get better or worse over time.

To help chronic pain patients understand what they can to do avoid symptoms, WebMD separated facts from myths:

FACT: One common claim that holds up – joint pain can get worse when it's cold or raining. Barometric pressure can cause some people, especially those with arthritis, to experience more pain in their joints.

MYTH: Experts say rest may not be the best thing for back pain. Complete bed rest is one of the worst things you can do. Short periods of rest may help, but if you're not active, the body quickly becomes deconditioned, causing more pain when you do move. Limit exercise during acute periods of pain.

FACT: Losing weight can ease pain symptoms. Too much weight puts more pressure on your back, hips and knees, so losing weight can relieve some of that pressure. Even 10 pounds can make a difference.

FACT: Exercise curbs painful flare-ups. Pain can make it harder to exercise, but staying active is one of the best things you can do to feel better. A regular walking routine can help you lose weight, sleep better and improve your mood.

MYTH: Minor pain is still worth worrying about. Pain should never be ignored, even if the pain is better after using over-the-counter medications. If pain lasts more than a week or two or gets worse over time, see a doctor.

Doctors will often advise patients to seek ways to relieve pain without medications. Chronic use of some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can have a negative effect on the stomach and kidneys.

People dealing with chronic pain should consider physical therapy, ultrasound therapy and specific exercises to help decrease pain and improve flexibility.

Facts vs myths: Things to know about chronic pain

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