CHRONIC PAIN

Pain comes in either acute or chronic pain. Acute pain is felt directly after the inciting incident. Pain becomes chronic when it persists past the initial trauma and lasts for at least 3 of the 6 preceding months. Sadly chronic pain can be a lifelong struggle with 1 in 5 Australians suffering Chronic Pain. There are mainly known causes of chronic pains and some accepted chronic pain conditions such as migraines, arthritis, osteoporosis etc.. However there are many causes of chronic pain including Chiari, Syringomyelia, Ehlers-Danlos, Craniocervical Instability, Tethered Cord and Intracranial Hyper/Hypotension

Chronic pain is felt to occur due to neuroplastic changes that occur after the trauma has healed. the nerves and spinal cord get sensitive overtime despite no pain stimulus and the brain misinterprets these signals as pain.

Neuropathic pain occurs when there is damage to the nervous system.

Nociceptive pain is the most common type of pain caused by tissue injury. 

There is a range of treatments available for the treatment of Chronic Pain. There is no "cure" for chronic pain but some strategies include:

  • Physical Fitness/activity

  • Medication 

  • Psychological Help

  • Sleep

  • Improvement of Overall Health

Treatment of chronic pain needs a holistic approach as issues like poor sleep can cause a feedback cycle with pain making it worse. Psychology has a very important role in helping with chronic pain and its suggestion by your doctor should NOT be dismissed. Learning to manage your life around chronic pain is essential for improving well-being. 

Medication is another commonly used therapy with doctors using a range of pain-killers including:

  • Opiates

  • Paracetamol

  • Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)

  • Anti-depressants

  • Anti-convulsants

These all have a role in helping chronic pain and should be used in conjunction with your health-care professional to ensure optimal doses. There is also a range of injections and procedures depending on the cause of chronic pain and implanted devices (intrathecal pump, nerve stimulator).

Speak to your GP about your pain and get a referral to a Pain Specialist. Pain specialists have specialist training specifically in the management and treatment of pain and maybe better than your GP for initiating a treatment regimen. 

 

References

https://www.painaustralia.org.au/about-pain/what-is-chronic-pain

https://www.nps.org.au/consumers/chronic-pain-explained

https://www.painmanagement.org.au/resources/about-pain/what-is-chronic-pain.html

https://www.painaustralia.org.au/about-pain/painful-facts

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Purple is also the colour for chronic pain