Getting to the underlying causes of pain

September is Pain Awareness Month. Everyone suffers from pain from time to time. Many people treat the symptoms of pain. When this pain is persistent, treating the symptom doesn’t get to the root problem to improve your situation.

  • Nearly 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain is when your body keeps hurting for weeks, months, and even years.
  • Pain is your body telling you something is wrong. It’s like the check engine light on your car’s dashboard.
  • The suffering from pain can be debilitating and life altering.


Over 54 million adults in the US suffer from arthritis which encompasses a variation of conditions including autoimmune diseases to joint pain. Arthritis can impact your ability to work or do daily tasks. There isn’t a cure for arthritis but your doctor can help you make a plan to effectively manage the condition. This can include things like weight management to put less strain on your joints, protecting your joints during activities, and pain management.

Back pain

Back pain is extremely common with 65 million Americans experiencing back pain at some point in their lives. Chronic back pain affects eight percent of adults, and it is the sixth most costly condition in the US. Healthcare costs linked to chronic back pain total over $12 billion dollars a year. Adults who suffer from this condition are more likely to seek medical care than adults without back pain. If you suffer from back pain, talk with your doctor. Physical therapy, chiropractor visits, and pain management may help address your pain. More advanced cases may need medical attention or surgery.


Almost everyone suffers from a headache occasionally. The most common types of headaches are: tension, migraine, and cluster headaches.

  • Typically tension headaches are mild to moderate in pain and aren’t accompanied by any other symptoms.
  • Migraine headaches last a few hours to a few days and are a pounding, throbbing pain. These headaches are often accompanied by sensitivity to light and nausea or vomiting. Smells and sound can also be pain triggers during these episodes.
  • Cluster headaches can cause a pinching sensation behind an eye. The pain can be quite severe with these headaches and those that suffer often cannot be still during an attack. The eye near the pain source can droop, become red, and tear up as the pupil shrinks. Even the nostril near the pain can show signs with cold-like symptoms: runny or stuffy nose.

Chronic headaches are defined as 15 days or more per month--or having a headache more than you don’t. You may think there is no need to see a doctor for a headache. A good rule of thumb is to seek medical care if:

  • You have two or more headaches a week
  • You take pain relievers most days for your headaches (or any other pain)
  • You need more than the over-the-counter medication recommended dose to address your pain
  • Your headaches worsen or become disabling

If you are suffering from pain, you don’t have to. Healthstar Physicians is a multi-specialty physicians group with 25 locations in seven counties including three after hours clinics. Dr. Dennis Harris of Harris Clinic specializes in pain management and can help you improve your life. To find out more about how Harris Clinic can help you regain control of your life, visit or reach out to the office at 423-581-3939 to set up an appointment.