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Chronic Pain

Acute pain is a warning that damage is occurring to your body’s tissues. In some people, pain may begin with a fall or serious infection, or an underlying medical condition, such as arthritis or cancer. Others suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage.

Chronic pain is longstanding pain that continues beyond the usual recovery period or occurs along with a chronic health condition. Because this type of pain is not protective, doctors refer to it as “pathological” and treat it as a condition rather than as a symptom. Chronic pain may affect people to the point that they can’t work, eat properly, participate in physical activity or enjoy life.

Diagnosis

Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself) and psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system).

A person may have two or more co-existing chronic pain conditions. Conditions can include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and vulvodynia. It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.

The methods used to diagnose chronic pain depend on the type of pain you’re suffering.

Treatment

Pain medicine specialists at the Neuroscience Institute’s Comprehensive Pain Medicine Center treat chronic pain with state-of-the-art medical technology. We use a variety of techniques to manage pain, depending on its cause. They include:

  • Advanced procedures for abdominal pain
  • Biofeedback
  • Counseling
  • Disc procedures
  • Epidural injections
  • Facet injections
  • Medication
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Pain pumps
  • Peripheral nerve stimulators
  • Physical therapy
  • RACZ procedure (epidural neurolysis for spinal stenosis)
  • Radiofrequency procedures
  • Regional pain blocks
  • Selective nerve root blocks
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Sympathetic nervous system blocks
  • Trigger point injections
  • Vertebroplasty


Many people with chronic pain can be helped if they understand the cause of their pain and the steps that can be taken to undo the damage that chronic pain has done. Clinicians and researchers believe that advances in neuroscience will lead to more and better treatments for chronic pain in the years to come.

Source: National Institutes of Health

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