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.
Not long after her daughter was born in 1999, Sherrie Sisk began
experiencing debilitating episodes of pain that left her feeling like she’d
been run over by a truck.
“It was like the worst flu aches and pains you could ever imagine,” she
says. A few months later, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain
condition characterized by fatigue and pain, particularly focused around
certain “tender points” in the body.
Ten years later, she’s learned to live with her condition -- and her
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.
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.