Chronic Pain Relief
What is chronic pain? Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts more than three months and does not serve as a warning of physical illness or injury. Pain is usually the body's way of indicating that something is wrong. It is normal to have pain accompanying an injury or illness. Pain that continues for months or years isn't normal.
Chronic pain is different than acute pain, because it may be difficult to find the cause. Although a physical injury may be the initial cause, pain often persists after the physical injury has healed. It may also be triggered by long-term illnesses.
The following resources offer more information on the basics of chronic pain.
- The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has a chronic pain information page.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers information on managing chronic pain.
- Spine Health has detailed information on chronic back pain.
- The American Geriatrics Society discusses chronic pain in the elderly.
- Pediatric chronic pain
- Overview of chronic pain from Massachusetts General Hospital
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Types of chronic pain
The most common types of chronic pain are headache, backache, and arthritis pain. Certain neurological conditions cause chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia. Sometimes the underlying cause of the chronic pain is unknown.
Learn more about the types of chronic pain from the following resources.
Treatment of chronic pain
Treatment of chronic pain focuses on pain relief through medications, and through other types of treatments such as acupuncture, massage, hydrotherapy, or physical therapy. Mild chronic pain can be treated with over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. Exercising and choosing healthy food may relieve some forms of chronic pain.
But when chronic pain becomes disabling and reduces the patient's quality of life, more drastic treatment measures may need to be pursued, such as surgery or prescription medications. Learn more from the following resources.
Coping with pain
Chronic pain that continues for weeks or months without relief can bring on feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety, fear, and depression. Counseling may help a patient cope with these feelings.
- The American Chronic Pain Association offers information on managing chronic pain.
- The American Pain Society offers a list of organizations that help people who have chronic pain.
- The National Pain Foundation strives to improve the quality of life for people living in pain through information, education, and support.
- Chronic Pain Mission offers education, support, and understanding to sufferers of chronic pain.
One in four Americans is living with chronic, disabling pain. Many people with chronic pain can be helped if they understand the cause and the many treatment options available. Research is continually being done in medical schools and other research facilities to investigate treatment options for chronic pain sufferers. Scientists believe that more and better treatment options will be available in the years ahead.