Chronic Pain Management

Chronic Pain Facts

Chronic Pain ManagementIf you are suffering with acute or chronic pain, you are not alone. Nearly 80 million Americans seek medical attention every year due to some form of pain. In fact, more people suffer from chronic pain than from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. Despite the fact that billions of research dollars have been spent trying to discover more effective pain relief, people still find themselves struggling with this debilitating medical condition. But there is hope on the horizon. Advancements in several areas of science; including neuroscience, molecular biology, and biomedical technologies are helping us to understand the mechanisms involved in pain sensation and will ultimately result in more effective pain management and improved pharmaceuticals.

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Chronic Pain Medications

We usually associate pain with injury or illness. It is our body’s warning system that something is wrong and that we should take some kind of action. But often there is no obvious condition that can be detected and treated. Fortunately, new imaging technology and biomedical techniques are revealing amazing details concerning the mechanisms of pain, from the point of initiation through perception.

The key to successful pain management will come from new discoveries in the way pain is transmitted through the body on the molecular level. Whether you suffer from back pain, pain associated with cancer, headaches, arthritis, or some other chronic condition, you should remain hopeful that there will be major breakthroughs in the near future to help you manage your situation.

The most common complaint, resulting in medical attention, comes from back pain, especially low-back pain. Low-back pain contributes to more lost workdays and money spent on healthcare than almost any other condition. This type of pain is usually acute in nature (sudden and severe onset), however there are degenerative disorders that result in chronic (long lasting) low-back pain as well. There is a 75 to 85% chance that you will experience this type of pain at some time in your life. Low-back pain usually renders the sufferer inactive and unable to work for days to even weeks. Nearly two-thirds of the population suffer from some type of neck pain but those who suffer from chronic neck pain can be greatly impacted by their condition yet the good news is treatment options are available.

Headaches, including migraines, are more common, but don’t usually lead to as many visits to the doctor. They can be extremely debilitating, however, and also result in many missed school and workdays. Up to 25% of women suffer from migraines, while only 8% of men experience this type of headache pain. Some common headache triggers include changes in weather, eating habits, sleep habits, and stress.

Degenerative joint disorders are also high on the list of statistical pain data. This would include pain associated with osteoarthritis (where there is a progressive loss of cartilage, the rubbery tissue that separates bones), trauma to joints, as well as hereditary disorders, viral and bacterial infections, and damage caused by repetitive motions. Eighty percent of people over the age of 60 experience some form of arthritic disorder. Pain from arthritis can negatively impact a person’s daily life, making the most mundane activities difficult to perform.

Cancer and its associated treatments often cause patients to experience pain. Whether from surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or the cancer itself, pain management is an important part of cancer patient treatment. Managing pain, while also dealing with a devastating diagnosis can make recovery more difficult. Patients often feel depressed, and overwhelmed when they are fighting to get well and then have to find ways to manage their pain. Fortunately, 95% of cancer patients can be treated successfully through both drug and non-drug therapies.

Among other pain disorders are neuralgias (nerve pain) and neuropathies (nerve damage). Pain from neuralgia can affect any part of the body and doesn’t always indicate permanent damage. Neuropathy, on the other hand, involves nerve damage and is not always associated with pain. It can manifest itself as a loss of sensation, weakness, tingling sensations, abnormal sensations, or a combination of all of these. Some conditions that lead to neuralgias or neuropathies are: autoimmune disorders, nerve injury, chemical irritation, infections (such as shingles, syphilis, and Lyme disease), diabetes, and even certain drugs.

Fortunately, no matter what type of pain you are experiencing there is hope of finding relief. It is important to not give up! Acute and chronic pain can lead to irritability and depression if left untreated. This, in turn, can make the pain you are experiencing more severe. Don’t be afraid to seek help. If one treatment fails, you shouldn’t hesitate to try something else. As we’ve seen above, there are many kinds of pain and just as many kinds of chronic pain treatments.

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Did you know?

Advancements in several areas of science; including neuroscience, molecular biology, and biomedical technologies are helping us to understand the mechanisms involved in pain sensation and will ultimately result in more effective pain management and improved pharmaceuticals.