October 13, 2015
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Chronic Pain

Chronic pain facts*

*Chronic pain facts by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOE

  • Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience.
  • Acute pain results from disease, inflammation, or injury to tissues and comes on suddenly. The cause of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated, and the pain is confined to a given period of time and severity.
  • Chronic pain persists over a longer period of time than acute pain and is resistant to most medical treatments. It often causes severe problems for patients.
  • There are hundreds of types of pain. Common pain syndromes include arthritis, back pain, central pain syndrome, cancer pain, headaches, head and facial pain, muscle pain, myofascial pain syndromes, neuropathic pain, reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS), sciatica, shingles and other painful disorders of the skin, sports injuries, spinal stenosis, surgical pain, temporomandibular disorders, trauma, and vascular disease or injury.
  • No test can measure the intensity of pain, no imaging device can show pain, and no instrument can locate pain precisely The patient's own description of the type, duration, and location of pain may be the best aid in diagnosis.
  • Tests used to determine the cause of pain include electrodiagnostic procedures such as electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies, and evoked potential (EP) studies; imaging, especially magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); neurological examination; or X-rays.
  • The goal of pain management is to improve function, enabling individuals to work, attend school, or participate in day-to-day activities.
  • The most common treatments for pain include analgesic pain relievers (aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen), acupuncture, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, migraine headache medicines, biofeedback, capsaicin, chiropractic, cognitive and behavioral therapy, counseling, COX-2 inhibitors, electrical stimulation, exercise, hypnosis, lasers, magnets, nerve blocks, opioids, physical therapy and rehabilitation, R.I.C.E. -- Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, and surgery.
  • It is believed that pain affects men and women differently. This may be due to hormones, psychology, and culture.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2014

Source: MedicineNet.com

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