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Chronic Pain Syndrome - Topic Overview

In some people who have 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 syndrome 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 harder to manage chronic pain, especially if you use alcohol or drugs to deal with your symptoms.

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Chronic pain often requires both counseling and medical treatment, because it can have a wearing effect on both the mind and the body. Think about getting treatment at a pain management clinic. You can get multidisciplinary treatment from a team of specialists there.

Some chronic 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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