Chronic Pain Medicine -- January 25, 2010 -- Dr. Matthew Rupert - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Chronic Pain Medicine -- January 25, 2010 -- Dr. Matthew Rupert

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Chronic Pain Medicine
January 25, 2010
Dr. Matthew Rupert

Chronic Pain Medicine

  •  Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.

 

  • A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics (2006) revealed that 26 percent of adults experienced pain lasting more than 24 hours in the month prior, and 10 percent experienced the same pain for a year or more.

 

  • Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability.

 

  • When asked about four common types of pain, respondents of a National Institute of Health Statistics survey indicated that low back pain was the most common (27 percent), followed by severe headache or migraine pain (15 percent), neck pain (15 percent) and facial ache or pain (4 percent).

 

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 such as a sprained back or serious infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain such as arthritis, cancer or 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 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.

 

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