Chronic pain can seriously affect your quality of life, interfering with your ability to work, sleep and enjoy family and friends. When chronic pain disrupts your quality of life and does not improve with standard treatments, it is time to seek help.
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It is important to understand the difference between acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain occurs secondary to an injury and usually lasts less than three months while chronic pain persists beyond three months, regardless of the cause.
Common chronic pain issues include:
- Low back pain
- Cancer pain
- Arthritis pain
- Neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves)
- Psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside)
Chronic pain might have originated with an initial trauma/injury or infection, or there might be an ongoing cause of pain. However, some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of physical damage.
The most common type of chronic pain is back pain with 60 to 90 percent of U.S. adults experiencing back pain at some point their lives. Within a given year up to 50 percent of people will have back pain. It is the most commonly sited problem for losing work time in industry, and it accounts for a lot of money in healthcare costs each year.
Treatment for chronic pain
There are many ways to treat chronic pain depending upon the severity of the pain. Options include:
- Various types of drugs
- Localized anesthetic (a shot of a pain killer medicine into the area of the pain)
- Nerve blocks (the blocking of a group of nerves with local anesthetics)
- Electrical stimulation
- Physical therapy
- Psychotherapy (talk therapy)
- Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing
- Biofeedback (treatment technique in which people are trained to improve their health by using signals from their own bodies)
- Behavior modification
Cleveland Clinic pain management specialists are here to help you. There are many safe, proven effective treatments available that can eliminate or reduce chronic pain. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can start enjoying life again.
To make an appointment with one of our pain management specialists, call 216.444.PAIN (7246)