Chronic pain can be defined as a progressive discomfort which can be of different degrees – from mild to severe. Chronic pain is usually linked to a chronic disease and persists longer than acute pain, and lacks a clear cause.
Millions of people suffer from chronic pain, and effective tackling of chronic pain is necessary. It is here that chronic pain management services become important in lessening or eliminating the pain.
Pain management specialists help patients adopt a multifaceted approach to treat pain. They also teach people how to live with the chronic pain. These treatment programs are specific for each patient as different people have different pain tolerance levels and different reactions to pain.
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Persistent lower-back pain, chronic headaches and cancer pain belong to the category of chronic pains. Chronic pain may be the result of autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions including Grave's disease, genetic disorders such as multiple sclerosis, back or neck trauma and less defined disorders like fibromyalgia.
Chronic pain is usually managed by medical methods, psychological methods or alternate therapy approaches. Medical approaches can be divided into two – drug treatment and surgical intervention. Medications prescribed for pain management include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), steroids to reduce inflammation, muscle relaxants, or anti-anxiety medication to reduce tension, and antidepressants or anti-convulsants to help control specific types of nerve pain.
Non-drug therapies employed include individual/family therapy, hot and cold therapy, physical therapy, biofeedback, chiropractic and acupuncture massage, breathing exercises, self hypnosis and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). However, these therapies don't work fast and require regular practice.
Exercise, stretching and physical therapy reduce chronic joint pain and muscle soreness and spasms by increasing strength, tone and flexibility. Along with medications and therapies, psychological therapy should also be employed for anxiety and depression and is helpful in managing the emotional consequences of chronic pain.