Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for three months or more, or a month or more beyond the normal healing period following an injury, illness or surgery. Pain levels may vary, but usually, some degree is present most days, interfering with daily living in various ways. Chronic pain differs from acute pain that develops very suddenly. In chronic pain, the brain and central nervous system are under a continual barrage that can make it difficult for the body to respond in a way that resolves the pain. As a result, sometimes pain receptors can become overly sensitized to pain, firing at lower levels of pain so the pain experience in prolonged and magnified. Chronic pain can occur anywhere in the body and it can affect anyone.
Chronic pain can occur as a result of injury or illness, or it may develop as a result of a chronic medical condition like arthritis or diabetes. Diagnosing chronic pain begins with an in-depth exam and personal and family medical history to help understand potential underlying causes so the most appropriate treatment can be prescribed.
Treatment for chronic pain begins with a comprehensive exam and an in-depth medical history to understand the factors that may be contributing to your pain and to aid in developing a management plan based on your specific needs and symptoms. Management techniques focus on relieving or reducing symptoms so you can function more comfortably. Treatment options may include the use of different types of medications to address pain and inflammation, infusion therapy to reduce symptoms and maximize health, therapeutic exercise, physical and aquatic therapies and lifestyle changes. By working closely with your treatment provider, you can develop a custom treatment plan that's based specifically on your unique needs.
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