More than three million cases of chronic pain—pain that lasts months or even years—are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
While most everyone feels pain from time to time, chronic pain is entirely different. Those who suffer from chronic pain hurt for weeks, months, or even years after their injury occurs. This kind of constant pain can have adverse effects on day-to-day life, making it impossible to enjoy the things you once enjoyed. Normally, pain signals will stop when the cause of the pain is resolved, however in those suffering from chronic pain, the pain signals keep “firing” even after the injury has healed.
Causes and Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be caused by inflammation or dysfunctional nerves. While chronic pain is very rare in babies and children up to the age of five, it is much more common among those from 19-60-plus. While chronic pain can begin for some with no obvious cause, more often it begins after a specific health condition or injury, including:
- Injuries sustained from a car accident or other type of accident;
- Back injuries, back strain or other back problems;
- A current or past injury or surgery;
- Damage to the nerves;
- Headaches and migraines, or
- Fibromyalgia, which manifests as muscle pain throughout the body.
Chronic pain can feel like a shooting pain, a burning pain, a dull ache, a throbbing pain, stiffness or soreness. Chronic pain can be accompanied by insomnia, lack of hunger, fatigue, changes in mood, a lack of energy and a general feeling of “weakness.”
Diagnosing Chronic Pain
Because chronic pain is such a subjective area—everyone feels pain differently—it can be challenging to diagnose. Further, many chronic pain symptoms mimic those of other illnesses, meaning it can take more time to definitively diagnose chronic pain.
It can be difficult to distinguish between muscular pain and neurological pain. In order to do so, you may be asked to answer questions about your pain, such as how long the pain typically lasts, what seems to worsen the pain, and whether anything relieves the pain. Your reflexes may be checked, as well as your range of motion, coordination, and balance. In addition, you could be asked about sensory difficulties such as tingling or numbness. Blood work can also help by ruling out other illnesses such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.
Treatment Options for Chronic Pain
The interventional pain specialists at Seattle Pain will thoroughly evaluate your chronic pain, developing a comprehensive pain treatment program which can help you return to your normal life. Of course, how we treat your chronic pain at Seattle Pain will depend on the severity of your pain, as well as where the pain typically occurs. One or more of the following treatments may be applicable for your chronic pain:
- Nerve blocks
- Nerve pain medications, including analgesics and/or opioids
Are you struggling with chronic pain?
Contact Our Seattle Interventional Pain Management Specialists
We understand that chronic pain can completely derail your life. At Seattle Pain, our primary goal is to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.