Since early 2020, life in the United States has dramatically changed in response to a global pandemic. COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is a highly contagious respiratory virus that has caused many businesses and organizations to close their doors or to change their operating practices.
Following the guidelines of officials and health experts, the population has been asked to practice social distancing and to wear masks to protect themselves and everyone else from potentially spreading the virus. Older individuals and those with chronic illnesses, who are at higher risk of developing a more severe reaction if they are infected with the novel coronavirus, have been encouraged to stay home as much as possible and to limit their exposure to others.
While these measures have been necessary, they have left many people isolated from others – and feeling limited in their ability to manage their existing health problems. However, keeping your chronic health conditions under control is more important now than ever before to avoid unnecessary emergency visits, which could expose you to others who potentially have the virus.
While heart disease or diabetes may immediately come to mind when thinking about chronic health conditions, people who have chronic pain understand that living with uncontrolled pain can be debilitating physically and mentally. For this reason, it is very important that you take steps to keep your chronic pain under control as you normally would, even while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 and Public Health Recommendations
COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). We are still learning about this new coronavirus, how it is spread, what symptoms it can cause, and how to treat it. Interestingly, the common cold is usually caused by a type of coronavirus.
We now know that COVID-19 is transmitted by person-to-person contact. It is carried in respiratory droplets that people expel when they exhale, talk, yell, sing, sneeze, or cough. The most common means of transferring the virus seems to be through the air when people are close to each other, especially indoors and in enclosed spaces.
However, it can also be transferred when someone who has the virus on their hands touches a surface or sneezes on a surface, and then that surface is touched by someone else. After being exposed to the virus, the person can infect themselves by then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.
Because the most infectious period is early in the disease, people without symptoms are able to spread the virus. In fact, some people are completely asymptomatic, never being aware that they had the infection unless they are tested.
Because of the highly infectious nature of COVID-19 and the severity of some symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued recommendations to help limit the spread and to protect those who are most vulnerable. Mandated precautions vary from state to state – and while some businesses completely closed down during the spring and summer months, many businesses have now reopened with new safety protocols.
Basics About Social Distancing and Masks
The CDC recommends that everyone maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and anyone who is not in their household. Hugs, handshakes, and other forms of touch should be avoided with those outside of your own household.
Masks are recommended when indoors (when not at home) and whenever you cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Frequent, thorough hand washing with soap or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer should become routine after you touch anything, and hand washing is preferred over sanitizer. It is also important to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and always avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. (Use a tissue if you have an itch.) In businesses and in homes, frequently touched surfaces should be sanitized regularly, and all indoor spaces should be well-ventilated.
Chronic Pain Therapies
Depending on the source of your pain, there are a wide range of therapies available to treat chronic pain, such as heat, ice, stretching, physical activity, therapeutic exercises, relaxation techniques, and over-the-counter or prescription medications and creams. While physical therapy can be done at home, going to a physical therapy clinic may yield the best results in pain control.
If your pain is not being well-controlled via conservative measures, visiting a pain clinic, and being treated by a pain management specialist is your best option. These doctors offer a wide range of therapies to treat patients who have neck pain, back pain, and nerve pain, including sciatica and arthritis pain.
Some of the treatments that may be offered to tamp down your pain include therapeutic injections, acupuncture, spinal cord stimulation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical therapy. Additionally, if the stretching and exercise you are doing at home is not getting the results you need, a pain management specialist can evaluate your specific needs and tailor a plan that will work for you.
Controlling Your Pain While Keeping Safe During the Pandemic
The CDC estimates that over 20% of adults in the United States have some type of chronic pain, with up to 8% of these people reporting a severe lifestyle impact from their pain. Chronic pain can have many negative effects on your life, including depression, loss of income, and worsening overall health due to inactivity.
These are compelling reasons for you to manage your pain, even while staying safe during the pandemic, so do not hesitate to visit a medical pain specialist – the staff there will make sure that you are safe during your visit.
Pain Doctor in Boca Raton
If you are looking for a pain management specialist, Dr. Jonathan Kamerlink at Kamerlink Pain Institute is here to help relieve your chronic pain. We have special procedures in place for our patients to ensure the safety of everyone during their visit here during COVID-19 and beyond.
If you are struggling to manage your pain, don’t wait for the pandemic to be over. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kamerlink by calling our friendly staff at (561) 404-7667. We look forward to taking care of you so you can enjoy a more pain-free life once again.