Chronic pain (also called persistent pain) is defined as any pain lasting longer than three months.
Whereas pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. With chronic pain, the pain signals remain active for months or years even after the injury has healed.
Chronic pain can occur anywhere in your body. It is a very personal experience; it can be mild or severe, episodic or continuous. It can sometimes interfere with your activities of daily living including relationships with family and friends. Chronic pain is often accompanied by other health concerns such as feeling tired, frustrated, anxious or sad.
More about some common pain diagnoses:
Did you know?
There is no cure for chronic pain but it can be managed.
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There are a lot of misconceptions out there about chronic pain.
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Chronic Pain Treatment
The goal of chronic pain treatment is to help you manage your pain, achieve the things you want to do, get pleasure from life and be as healthy as possible. There are several different treatment options that have been proven to improve chronic pain including:
Chronic Pain education is the foundation of all pain treatments. It provides you with an understanding of how chronic pain works in your body and will give you techniques to deal with the impact of pain in your life including: frustrations, exercising, nutrition, pacing activity, and how to evaluate which treatment options are best for you.
Physical therapy and Exercise
Exercise can have a positive effect on pain relief. A combination of general aerobic (walking, stationary bicycle), strengthening and flexibility exercises is most beneficial. A physical therapist can help you set goals and recommend exercises to improve your movement and functioning.
It is common for people with chronic pain to experience frustrations, depression, anxiety, and mood changes. This can make it harder to manage your chronic pain. A counsellor may use treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and/or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help you cope with your pain.
Certain types of pain may be relieved with interventional therapies. These therapies use techniques such as injections, nerve blocks, and nerve freezing to treat the source of the pain. This treatment does not work for everyone and they work best when they are used along with other types of treatment, including counselling and physical therapy. A 50% reduction in pain from interventional therapy is considered successful.
Medications can sometimes help chronic pain, but they are not a cure. Medications work best when they are used along with other types of treatment including counselling and physical therapy. Working with a Doctor or Pharmacist at TAPMI can help manage pain with new medication options and help safely wean off opioid medications. A 30% reduction in pain from medications is considered successful.
Choosing the Right Clinic
There are many options for pain management clinics and finding the one that’s right for you may be difficult. Evidence tells us that patients have the best outcomes when they are treated at interprofessional pain clinics.
These clinics are best suited to treat chronic pain because they have a variety of pain specialists that work together to treat each of the physical, emotional, and environmental factors that contribute to chronic pain. When choosing the chronic pain clinic that’s right for you, look for clinics that offer several of the following specialists: doctors, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists, pharmacists, social workers, occupational therapists and chiropractors.