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Physical Health - Chronic Pain

Posted Dec 02 2008 1:51am 2 Comments
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What is Chronic Pain?

While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial mishap -- sprained back, serious infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain -- arthritis, cancer, ear infection, but some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage. Many chronic pain conditions affect older adults. Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself), psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system).


Is there any treatment?
Medications, acupuncture, local electrical stimulation, and brain stimulation, as well as surgery, are some treatments for chronic pain. Some physicians use placebos, which in some cases has resulted in a lessening or elimination of pain. Psychotherapy, relaxation and medication therapies, biofeedback, and behavior modification may also be employed to treat chronic pain.


What is the prognosis?
Many people with chronic pain can be helped if they understand all the causes of pain and the many and varied steps that can be taken to undo what chronic pain has done. Scientists believe that advances in neuroscience will lead to more and better treatments for chronic pain in the years to come.


What research is being done?
Clinical investigators have tested chronic pain patients and found that they often have lower-than-normal levels of endorphins in their spinal fluid. Investigations of acupuncture include wiring the needles to stimulate nerve endings electrically (electroacupuncture), which some researchers believe activates endorphin systems. Other experiments with acupuncture have shown that there are higher levels of endorphins in cerebrospinal fluid following acupuncture. Investigators are studying the effect of stress on the experience of chronic pain. Chemists are synthesizing new analgesics and discovering painkilling virtues in drugs not normally prescribed for pain.


Organizations
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)National Institutes of Health, http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/
American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) http://www.theacpa.org/
American Council for Headache Education http://www.achenet.org/

National Headache Foundation http://www.headaches.org/
National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain ww.paincare.org
Mayday Fund [For Pain Research] http://www.painandhealth.org/
American Pain Foundation http://www.painfoundation.org/
Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org/

Comments (2)
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I have stiffness to near choking after carotid artery surgery and need allot of ativan. My life is practically useless. Nowhere to go to help, any suggestion. The tightning is connected to my anxiety and any nerve damage from scarring. I was not told this wa sa possiblity. The way this thing tightens is paramount to torture. I would love any sanctuary, cause I want to be away from my family if I can't take it anymore

 

Hi

Please do not think your life is useless.  You said you have nowhere to go for help.  Do you have a doctor?  Have you tried physical therapy?  I am so sorry you are struggling so much.  Please find a good doctor.  I wish I could help, but I am not a doctor. 

 

I will pray for you.

 

Michele

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