Chronic Pain: A Comprehensive Analysis
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney. Chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans and takes a physical, mental and emotional toll. According to the Institute of Medicine, its incidence is greater than that of diabetes, heart disease and cancer in this country. The cost associated with chronic pain is estimated at over $635 billion annually.
What Is Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists longer than six months. It commonly originates in the acute pain of injury or illness. One university study reported that those in a traffic crash had an 84-percent chance of developing chronic pain. The notion that this pain is simply acute pain that lasts has been proven inadequate. It is the result of amplified nervous system memory that can often be more intense than acute pain and move away from the original site.
Types of Chronic Pain
The different types are varied. They include:
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Visceral pain such as colon or bladder pain
- Nerve pain
- Regional pain disorders such as reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Symptoms of chronic pain can be classified as:
- Burning or shooting pain
- Persistent tightness or soreness
- Pain that varies from mild to intense
Accompanying health issues are fatigue, reduction of stamina, flexibility and strength, sleep disorders and a weakened immune system. Depression is a common feature associated with this disorder. This is often a result of the diminished physical capacity sufferers endure daily. Other issues include anxiety and withdrawal from a normal schedule.
Making a Diagnosis
Since pain is a subjective classification, a diagnosis can be complex. For the most part, clinicians rely on a patient’s description and quantification of their pain. Some studies such as nerve conduction tests may be helpful.
Cause of Chronic Pain
The causes include:
- Other injury such as that involved in surgery
- Poor posture
- Work-related activity such as typing or lifting heavy objects’
- Arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Diabetes, cancer or stomach ailments
Treatment of Chronic Pain
Treatment has evolved from the use of analgesics alone to a more holistic approach. The use of rehabilitation therapy has helped many victims return to an active life. Many practitioners utilize acupuncture and electrical stimulation as a treatment option. Modalities such as tai chi, meditation and massage may be useful. A key ingredient in therapy is the inclusion of self-management techniques. The use of problem-solving and pacing helps immensely for some. Nutrition can play a role in controlling chronic pain. Eating foods that are helpful in ridding the body of toxins and avoiding foods that enhance histamine release, which leads to inflammation, are important.
Sacramento Chronic Pain & Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney. If you or a family member suffers from chronic pain due to trauma or injury, call me at (800) 404-5400 or locally at (916) 921-6400 for free and friendly advice.
Since 1982, I have helped people recover a fair and just compensation for their personal injuries.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates. This forum is a group of selected US trial attorneys with $1 million and multimillion dollar settlements and verdicts.