Chronic Pain Syndrome

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Chronic Pain Syndrome

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In some people with long-lasting pain, biochemical changes are triggered in the body, causing a different type of chronic pain (neuropathic pain) that doctors currently find difficult to diagnose and treat. Pain signals are somehow triggered by the nervous system and continue to fire for months or even years. (It is also possible that certain brain chemicals that suppress pain do not work properly.)

Regardless of the cause, chronic pain affects all aspects of your life, straining relationships and making it difficult to keep up with work and home responsibilities. Common reactions to chronic pain over time include fear, frustration, anger, depression, and anxiety. These feelings can make it increasingly tough to conquer chronic pain, particularly when combined with abuse of alcohol, medicines, or illegal drugs to manage symptoms.

Chronic pain often requires both counselling and medical treatment, because it can have a wearing effect on both the body and the mind. Think about getting treatment at a pain management clinic, where you can get multidisciplinary treatment from a team of specialists.

Some chronic pain clinics have a stronger emphasis on invasive treatment, such as injections and surgical procedures, than others. Look for a clinic that offers you a choice of non-invasive treatments, including cognitive-behavioural therapy. Before having an invasive pain treatment, ask your doctor about his or her experience with that treatment Also, ask about research that shows how well it works for your condition.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Last Revised April 5, 2011

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