Chronic Pain Q & A

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is an ongoing condition that affects millions of Americans every year, causing not just physical pain but mental anguish. Chronic pain affects every aspect of your life, lasting for months, years, and often the rest of your life.

Acute pain is the warning message from your body to your brain, telling it that you’ve suffered tissue damage somewhere.

It’s a vital trigger for you to take action, manage the injury, and prevent further damage. As the injury heals and your body recovers, the pain lessens and goes away.

Chronic pain doesn’t go away. You might experience good days and bad days, but chronic pain is always there and very often fails to improve with time.

What causes chronic pain?

Many people who have chronic pain find their condition starts following an injury. The acute pain subsides, but you’re left with the ongoing chronic discomfort.

A classic example is lower back pain. You hurt your back, but instead of the pain going away as your back heals, it sticks around and becomes an ongoing problem.

There are also diseases that cause chronic pain. Arthritis, for example, is an incurable disease that causes inflammation, joint pain, and stiffness due to the ongoing deterioration of the protective tissues on the bones. Other conditions that cause chronic pain include:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Nerve damage causes neuropathic pain. Trauma or disease may damage the nerves, and they start sending pain signals to your brain even though there’s no damage to your tissues.

In some cases, neuropathic pain develops for no apparent reason. Idiopathic neuropathic pain might not have an identifiable cause, but the pain is no less real or disabling.

What symptoms does chronic pain cause?

Chronic pain can take many forms, so your pain could be burning or stabbing; dull and achy, or hot and throbbing. Chronic pain typically causes a range of other symptoms, including:

  • Stiffness
  • Constant fatigue
  • Changes in mood
  • Trouble sleeping
  • A lack of energy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in appetite

There is often an association between chronic pain problems and mental health issues like depression. It’s not always clear whether the depression or other disorder is a symptom of the disease or a consequence of the effects of being in constant pain.

What treatments are there for chronic pain?

Noninvasive treatments for chronic pain available at Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine® include physical therapy, pain medications, and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).

Most patients find their chronic pain improves with conservative treatment approaches. In cases where your chronic pain doesn’t respond, Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine® also offers an extensive range of advanced therapies, including:

  • Spinal cord stimulation (Nervo HF10™ Therapy)
  • Dorsal root ganglion stimulation (St. Jude Axium™)
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Selective nerve root injections
  • Radiofrequency lesioning (rhizotomy)
  • Trigger point injections
  • Sympathetic nerve blocks
  • Intrathecal pump placement for spasticity/pain
  • Biacuplasty
  • Epidural lysis of adhesions
  • Percutaneous discectomy
  • Regenerative medicine therapies are also available to help your body replace damaged tissues with fresh, healthy cells. Optimal Pain &
  • Regenerative Medicine offers viscosupplementation injections with hyaluronic acid, PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy, and stem cell injections.

There is help available for you if you live with chronic pain, so call Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine® today, or book an appointment using the online tool.