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Varicose Veins Pain Mild To Severe

“I think I have varicose veins pain.  How can I be sure?  Will vein treatment get rid of it?”  are questions I hear quite often.

Especially if you are considering treatment and do not have insurance cover for it.  Or even with insurance, is the inconvenience going to justify the result?

That inconvenience might be just having to wear stockings for a few weeks with the therapy. 

Or having to adjust your weekly schedule for a few sessions to attend to them.

Varicose veins pain with veins over inside kneeVeins over knees make it difficult to distinguish pain origin

It’s a valid question.

Variations In Varicose Veins Pain

So what is varicose veins pain like?

It can vary enormously.  From a dull ache noticed only occasionally to a full blown burning deep pain.  

For some it occurs only at the end of a long day on their feet. 

Different from pain with an arthritic joint which tends to be felt on waking and getting up and eased as you walk about.

But it’s a good distinction as both can be present.  It’s worth knowing which is what.

Interestingly I have seen a number of people with arthritis and varicose veins.  Sometimes the pain is to the point they are considering undergoing surgery for their knee. 

Once their veins have been dealt with their knee pain has become much milder. 

They are still likely to have to do something about it in the future.  But at least not immediately.

Timing Of Pain

Usually vein pain tends to be worse in hotter weather - the summer. 

Mild exercise can ease it.  But vigorous exercise can make it feel worse. 

Usually you become aware of it immediately after the exercise rather than during it.  Unless you are doing marathons, triathlons and similar prolonged activity sports.

Conversely being inactive for a number of hours can bring on leg veins pain.

Being on your feet all day may not be too bad as long as you are moving around most of the time. 

But standing still in one spot for hours is dynamite.

Relieving Pain

You can try taking pain relief for varicose veins pain.  Whatever your favourite one is. 

Most people do not notice any benefit at all.  It is a different sort of pain.

The most effective relief is usually elevating your legs. 

This may be just sitting with your legs up.  Or for some it is lying down on the floor with their legs raised against the wall. 

Some people need to do this every day to get enough relief.

Varicose veins pain with vein inflammation at timesSome inflammation in veins

Pain And Appearance

As I mentioned before pain does not always match the visible veins. 

At times this can be because there are greater problems going on below the surface. 

But even the apparently minor, almost normal looking lateral leg veins can cause significant vein pain. 

While someone with enormous, knotty surface veins might say they have no pain at all.

Other Associations

At its worst leg veins pain can start as soon as you place your feet on the floor. 

This usually indicates very large veins.  There is a rush of blood down through them causing intense aching.

Another form of varicose veins pain is muscular after a bad cramp.  At least this settles after a while.  Until the next cramping episode.

Surface vein clotting with superficial thrombophlebitis is painful as well.

How To Distinguish Vein Pain From Other Causes

So how do you distinguish whether the pain you are experiencing is definitely coming from your varicose veins, visible or otherwise?

The best test is to wear therapeutic compression stockings for one day and not the next.  Then to switch again at least once or twice to ensure any improvement you feel is not by pure chance.

For those with pain only at the end of the day or when they first go to bed, they should notice a big difference on days they wear them compared to days they do not.

It gives you an idea of what your legs should feel like after treatment.

By redirecting the blood flow from your surface veins to the healthy deeper ones, you are replicating a more normal pattern.

Appropriate Stockings To Test

Flight socks are not compressive enough to test with.  Unless you double them up - with two pairs on at the same time. 

Also usually they are a below knee fit only.  They might not give compression high enough up your leg to work for your problem.

Therapeutic stockings are known as class II, with flight ones being class I. 

The difference is the amount of tightness, or compression, standardised at the ankle.

Usually therapeutic varieties are available at clinics or specialised outlets. 

There they can check important details to ensure the stockings are correct for your size and underlying circulation.

Vein Pain And Treatment

Because varicose veins pain is so subjective the New Zealand health insurer, Southern Cross, went through a period of not allowing claims for treatment based on pain.

After some discussion with their medical advisors, that changed. 

Now as long as pain killers do not relieve your discomfort, they accept this as a valid reason for cover.

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