What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain persists after a sensation triggered in the nervous system has alerted you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself. In the case of chronic pain, pain receptors, called nociceptors, continue firing in the nervous system for weeks, months and in com cases years. An initial injury such as a sprained back or an ongoing cause of pain from cancer treatment or arthritis may have occurred, but some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of damage. Common complaints include headache, migraines, arm pain, shoulder pain, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis and neurogenic pain (nerve pain) and, psychogenic pain (pain that is not due to past injury or disease or a visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system). Some people may also have two or more co-existing chronic pain conditions. Conditions may include: Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ), Facial Pain (Trigeminal Neuralgia), Piriformis Syndrome (Sciatic Nerve Compression) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, or other pain disorders. Chronic pain conditions also affect many older adults as they age.
What are the Treatments for Chronic Pain?
A pain management specialist may use a range of approaches to prevent, evaluate and treat chronic pain disorders. Conditions treated by pain management specialists include pain from disease, such as cancer; post-operative pain; pain caused by an injury; or pain that is the condition itself, such as headaches or migraines. Treatment options may include medication, nerve block, injections, physical therapy, counseling and surgery.
What is the Prognosis for Chronic Pain?
The goals of treating those with chronic pain vary with every person treated. General goals include understanding all of the causes of pain and the many and include varied steps that can be taken to undo what chronic pain has done. By being able to classify chronic pain into a recognizable and explainable syndromes, chronic pain specialists are often able to offer hope to the patients they treat. Although treatment often does not yield a completely pain-free state, understanding the basis for the pain can provide significant relief through proper management.
Neurologists at our office include Interventional Pain Management Specialists who diagnosis and treat patients with chronic pain conditions. Dr. Chang and Dr. Jordan both evaluate, diagnosis and treat patients who suffer with acute pain and chronic pain conditions. If you suffer from a chronic pain condition and need a specialist contact one of our neurologists to schedule an appointment 310-829-5968.