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.
Pain is a normal part of life: a skinned knee, a tension headache, a bone fracture. But sometimes pain becomes chronic -- a problem to explore with your doctor. WebMD asked Eduardo Fraifeld, MD, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, to help readers understand acute vs. 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.
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.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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