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Chronic Pain

 

Pain is a perception and is important to tell us that there is injury or trauma in the body. Pain in general is a very common condition and in most cases is acute and quickly resolved. Chronic (ongoing) pain persists beyond the normal time of healing and generally lasts for longer than three months. The vast majority of people with chronic pain have it for more than a year.      

 

Chronic pain is usually the result of:

  • an injury (a sports or work accident),  
  • illness (such as cancer or osteoporosis),
  • joint pain (such as arthritis, tendinitis or carpel tunnel syndrome),  
  • other health problems (such as headaches), or  •sometimes the cause is unknown.      

 

Consequently, the body the tries to adapt to this unrelieved pain with one of the more following reactions:  

  • increased heart rate and blood pressure,  
  • higher levels of stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline,  
  • gastrointestinal problems such as slowed digestion,
  • musculoskeletal problems such as tension and fatigue, and/or  
  • emotional problems such as anxiety and depression.  

 

Symptoms  

Pain may be located in one part of the body or it may radiate and be widespread. Individuals can feel pain either quickly (resulting in a sharp, acute pain) or slowly (resulting in a dull, throbbing pain).  

  •  
  • Other problems associated with chronic pain can include:  
  • fatigue,  
  • a feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness,  
  • sleeplessness,
  • a withdrawal from activity and increased need to rest,  
  • a weakened immune system, and/or  
  • changes in mood (hopelessness, fear, depression, irritability, anxiety, and stress).      

 

Treatment options

It is recommended that you have a treatment plan with your health care professional to manage chronic pain. Pain management strategies generally include a combination of:   

 

Physical therapy - Exercise improves circulation, increases muscle strength and support, can assist in weight management and can improve mood. Seek advice from a health care professional who can prescribe a personalised exercise program to prevent injury.  

 

Complementary therapies - Alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massage can be used to assist in improving mental and physical wellbeing. It is important to discuss any complementary therapies with your health care professional.  

 

Pain control - Your health care professional may prescribe treatments to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. As pain is chronic, medication use may be long-term so it is important to discuss using lower strength doses to minimise long term side effects.      

 

 

Disclaimer

The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.   Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.  

 

Source:  

Better Health Channel http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Pain_management_adults

WebMD http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/understanding-pain-management-chronic-pain