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In some people with long-lasting pain, biochemical changes
are triggered in the body, causing a different type of chronic pain
(neuropathic pain) that doctors currently find difficult to diagnose and treat.
Pain signals are somehow triggered by the nervous system and continue to fire
for months or even years. (It is also possible that certain brain chemicals
that suppress pain do not work properly.)
Regardless of the
cause, chronic pain affects all aspects of your life, straining relationships
and making it difficult to keep up with work and home responsibilities. Common
reactions to chronic pain over time include fear, frustration, anger,
depression, and anxiety. These feelings can make it increasingly tough to
conquer chronic pain, particularly when combined with abuse of alcohol,
medicines, or illegal drugs to manage symptoms.
often requires both counseling and medical treatment, because it can have a
wearing effect on both the body and the mind. Think about getting treatment at
a pain management clinic, where you can get multidisciplinary treatment
from a team of specialists.
pain clinics have a stronger emphasis on invasive treatment, such as injections
and surgical procedures, than others. Look for a clinic that offers you a
choice of noninvasive treatments, including cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Before having an invasive pain treatment, ask your doctor about his or her
experience with that treatment Also, ask about research that shows how well it works
for your condition.
January 20, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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