Chronic pain is defined as any pain that persists past a normal healing time and lasts longer than 3 to 6 months. For a person with chronic pain, 3 to 6 months can feel like a lifetime.
The pain can be caused by any number of injuries such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause like illness. For some, there is no clearly defined root cause.
Because pain is subjective, it cannot be measured using diagnostic tools. No MRI, X-ray or ultrasound can provide a reading for the level and location of pain a patient may feel.
Chronic Pain Syndrome
There are many causes of chronic pain. About 25 percent of people who live with chronic pain will go on to develop chronic pain syndrome or CPS. This syndrome is marked by symptoms in addition to pain such as anxiety, despair, and depression. These symptoms can create a vicious cycle with physical pain creating anxiety and despair – which, in turn, creates more pain.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain may be accompanied by poor sleeping habits, loss of interest in normal habits, irritability, relationship issues, feelings of exhaustion, and drug and alcohol abuse. The typical pain one feels with an injury may be present or the pain may be a shooting, burning, tingling, or zinging electrical-type pain; it can be acute or dull and stabbing, achy, throbbing, or result in a painful stiffness.
Diagnosing Chronic Pain
Diagnosing chronic pain can be tricky. Keeping a pain journal can help a doctor locate the cause of your pain. When a patient sees a doctor and complains of pain, the doctor often asks where it hurts. It helps if you are able to provide answers as to where, when, and possibly in response to what triggers in your journal. There is no one-size-fits-all method of treating chronic pain and what helps one person may not help someone else’s pain, so working closely you’re your doctor is important.
Treatments for Chronic Pain
Depending upon the eventual diagnosis your doctor arrives at, treatments for chronic pain can vary widely. Medications like opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anti-rheumatics, muscle relaxants, and corticosteroids can be used. Additional treatments may also be recommended like massage therapy, physical therapy, psychotherapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, stem cell therapy, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. Various types of nerve blocks like facet joint blocks have also proven to be successful in treating uncomfortable back and neck pain symptoms.
If You Have Chronic Pain
If you or someone you love is suffering with chronic pain, contact the board-certified and fellowship-trained doctors at Louisiana Pain Care. Don’t suffer through another day when your suffering can be treated. Call (318) 323-6405 or request an appointment and take back control of your life.