Chronic Pain Q&A with Pain Recovery Center of Tyler

 

What is the basic definition of pain?

Pain is defined as locally physical suffering associated with a bodily disorder, such as a disease or an injury. Pain is also defined as a basic bodily sensation induced by noxious stimulus, received by nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort, such as aching, throbbing or pricking.

How is chronic pain defined?

Chronic pain is most often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks (3 months). According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, more than 1.5 billion people around the world have chronic pain.

What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?When does acute pain become chronic?

Acute pain is a ‘normal’ sensation that alerts an individual to a possible bodily injury. Common examples include a burn, stubbed toe, pulled muscle or broken bone. Chronic pain is much different than acute pain because it is present for an extended period of time (more than 12 weeks), usually well after the injury or disease is healed or treated.

What qualifies as chronic pain?

Many health professionals qualify chronic pain as any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability.

What causes chronic pain?

Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States, affecting about 100 million Americans.Chronic pain may arise from an injury or a chronic illness. In some cases, there is no clear cause. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include lower back pain, arthritis pain, cancer pain, pain caused by nerve damage, headaches, postsurgical pain and post-trauma pain.

Can chronic pain go away?

Chronic pain impacts each individual differently. In certain patients, there is no solution that ends chronic pain forever. These patients must work with a pain management doctor to find the appropriate treatment protocol, as well as follow healthy lifestyle choices at home.

Where is chronic pain located? What does chronic pain feel like?

Chronic pain has the ability to occur in a number of different locations in the human body. The most common areas include the neck, back and major joints such as the knees, hips and shoulders. The sensation of chronic pain is different for each individual. Some patients report a sharp, stabbing pain while others report a dull ache.

How does chronic pain change you? How does chronic pain affect daily life?

Unfortunately for many individuals, chronic pain changes a person’s attitude, overall health and daily life. Chronic pain is often accompanied by mood changes, decreased appetite, sleep difficulties and fatigue. Ongoing pain may limit an individual’s movements, affecting their stamina, strength and flexibility. When a person begins to experience difficulties in their daily movements, they often report despair, depression and possible suicidal thoughts.

How do you live with chronic pain?

Living with chronic pain is not easy. Individuals who suffer from this condition must deal with the pain on a daily basis and seek relief. Pain management programs, meditation, yoga, regular exercise and support groups are often encouraged by physicians to help lessen the pain level and increase the patient’s quality of life.

What to do when chronic pain becomes unbearable?

It has been shown that chronic pain has a massive impact on many sufferers’ lives. When chronic pain becomes too much to bear, many patients report it is important they find a way to soothe themselves. This may be meditation, breathing exercises, writing, reading and/or spending additional time with loved ones.

How does chronic pain affect the brain?

Chronic pain does not impact a singular portion of the brain. The ongoing pain changes multiple regions that are involved in a wide number of critical functions and processes. Research has shown changes in the way an individual regulates emotional responses, as well as how they remember past events and use them in the future to act appropriately in similar situations.

Why does chronic pain make you feel tired?

The connection between chronic pain and fatigue is an endless circle. The mental anguish and the body’s way to deal with pain on a daily basis wears almost all sufferers down over time. The pain level can impact sleep that leads to fatigue and makes the pain level worse and harder to manage because the body is worn down.

Why does chronic pain cause depression?

Depression plays a significant role in chronic pain. In some patients, the stress and depression caused by chronic pain and a decrease in quality of life can become consuming. When this occurs, many of these individuals experience worsened and prolonged pain. Increased pain leads to increased stress and depression, creating a cycle that may be hard to break.

What is the best treatment for chronic pain?

The overall goal of chronic pain treatment is to reduce pain and improve daily function. Chronic pain cannot always be cured, but it can be managed with help from a medical professional. Common chronic pain treatments include medications, nerve blocks, acupuncture and self-management programs.

Pain Management Q&A with Pain Recovery Center of Tyler


Why is it important to treat pain?

Uncontrolled pain can cause havoc in a person’s daily life. Inadequately managed paincan lead to adverse physical and psychological outcomes for patients, as well as their families. The inability to escape from pain may create a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, which has the ability to lead to despair and depression over time. 

What is a chronic pain management program?

Chronic pain is often difficult to treat because it is a complex condition that varies from one patient to the next. Many chronic pain management programs are considered “multidisciplinary” because they utilize a variety of treatments and strategies. The pain management program is never focused on just medication for the pain. It also takes a holistic approach that encourages self-management techniques and daily lifestyle changes.

What is considered pain management?

Pain management is characterized as a combination of clinical and basic science designed to blend tools, techniques and medical principles together to reduce a patient’s overall pain and suffering. The specialty of pain management is based on the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of many painful disorders and health conditions.

How effective is pain management?

Pain management is extremely effective in many patients if they visit a ‘pain management specialist.’ The expertise of a specialist is usually sought after a primary care physician (PCP) or other specialty physician cannot diagnose and treat the pain. Specialists in the field of pain management have received additional training and medical testing on treating the many causes of both acute and chronic pain.

What is the role of a pain management doctor?

A pain management doctor places focus and concern on a patient’s ability to function, as well as their quality of daily life. A doctor specialized in pain management evaluates the patient, diagnoses the condition and develops a treatment plan designed to relieve, reduce or manage the current level of pain. The treatment options place a focus on managing the pain without a heavy reliance on medications or surgery.

What happens at a pain management clinic?

A pain management program begins with a thorough medical review and detailed physical examination. The next step is usually diagnostic testing with the use of digital x-rays, electrodiagnostic testing, digital fluoroscopy and/or functional testing. Once a diagnosis has been reached, a pain management doctor will develop a customized treatment plan that is executed in the clinic.

What are different types of pain management?

One category of pain management involves the use of medications such as pain medications, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications. The second category of pain management is designed to help with pain without the use of medications, such as physical therapy, exercise and acupuncture. The third category of pain management involves injections into various areas of the body, most commonly the spinal region. These injections often include genicular neurotomy, trigger point injections, nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections and facet injections.