When Does Pain Become Chronic Pain

Pain can occur in any part of the body and due to a number of reasons. It can lead to discomfort or unpleasant feeling depending on its severity. Pain may indicate some problem with the affected area. However, pain is an individual thing as every person has a varying degree of pain tolerance. But if the pain is significant or persistent, it is advisable to visit a specialist for a diagnosis.

Pain is usually categorized as acute and chronic, on the basis of duration for which patients have been feeling the pain. 

Acute pain is sudden and is typically caused by a specific health issue. The pain feels sharp and usually lasts no longer than six months. Acute pain might be a symptom of injured or diseased tissue and the extent of pain will depend on the severity of tissue damage. It subsides over time as the underlying cause of the pain is treated. Once the acute pain is over, the person can have a comfortable life with no residual discomfort.

For instance, a person with herniated disc will have relief from the acute pain as the pressure on the nerve alleviates. Therefore, medical treatment for such conditions involve pain management. 

Chronic pain is an ongoing and long lasts condition (usually lasts for more than six months). This pain may persist even after the injury or underlying issue has healed or been treated. The signals for the pain remains active in the nervous system for some time, ranging from a few weeks, months to years. There are various kinds of health conditions and diseases that can lead to chronic pain.

For chronic pain, the course varies widely, unlike acute pain which have a straightforward path correlating the cause and effect. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that not all pains that persists will develop into chronic pain. It varies even among people who have the similar conditions. The treatment for chronic pain will, therefore, differ for every case, such as a specific medication or injection might be an effective pain management option for a herniated disc in some cases but not for all.

It is generally seen that factors unrelated to tissue damage and injury become more prominent if the pain shifts from the acute phase to the chronic stage. The lack of exercise and lifestyle habits along with psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, and declines in physical condition, can also have an influence.

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Pain Management 

For chronic Pain: It can be a primary problem, rather than a symptom of an illness, and specific measure for treatment might be needed. Many hospitals have a specialized centre the medical speciality of pain management to treat all kinds of pain. Management of chronic pain involves a multidisciplinary team to cover all aspects and causes of the pain for a holistic care. 

Conservative approaches for chronic pain management

Chronic pain can be treated with conservative therapies, such as physical therapy, NSAID pain killers, and steroid injection. Usually, these treatments work most effective for pain which has an identifiable cause. It aims to strengthen the muscles and correct postural or structural imbalances which is causing the pain.

Medication for pain management

Most people start with pain medication to relieve the pain and many rely on the use of opioid painkillers for long-term chronic pain. This offers temporary relief from the pain even when there is no identifiable cause for the pain. However, they have not been effective in relieving neuropathic pain. These medications are also associated with the risk of addiction and may become less effective for providing a long-term pain relief. When patients develop a tolerance to the medication, they turn to higher dosages.

Targeted Treatments

Injections such as include steroid injections, radio frequency ablations, and facet joint injection, and other targeted treatments focus on helping a particular area, with a rapid and effective pain relief. It helps patients resume mobility and promote healthy long-term spine health. These treatments work the best when pain has an identifiable cause, but it may sometimes be used for pain without any identifiable cause.

Surgery for Chronic Pain treatment

The doctors recommend surgery for chronic back pain when the non-invasive treatments or injections fail to provide significant pain relief. Surgery is often a last option as it includes a lengthy recovery period, varying duration of hospital stays, risk of post-surgical complications. Also you can do yoga for pain after surgery.

Many patients report ongoing pain after the surgery, or pain might be caused by the back surgery. This phenomenon is commonly known as to as “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome” and the risk of this complication increases with each successive surgery.

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