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Chronic pain, by definition, is a pain that last longer than it should. Acute pain comes on suddenly and is a direct response to injury or disease. Common types of chronic pain include arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches and back pain.
In order to treat chronic pain, physicians must first find the cause of the pain. This is not always a simple task. A person may have pain in his or her legs, but the cause could be in the person's spine. Sometimes, the cause of pain cannot be found. Fibromyalgia pain usually cannot be found. Patients with fibromyalgia tend to be easily fatigued and have pain in the muscles and joints. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, scientists have theorized that fibromyalgia “may be connected to injury, changes in muscle metabolism or viruses and the exact cause is unclear.”
If a patient suffers from chronic pain, he or she should start with a visit to his or her primary care physician, who can then refer the patient to the proper specialists. If one doctor cannot find the cause of the pain, get a second opinion. If a second doctor cannot find the cause, get a third opinion.
Chronic pain can sometimes be relieved by surgery. When the source of the pain cannot be found (such as fibromyalgia pain), medications can help control the pain. Medications are prescribed based on patient history and the amount of pain the patient is suffering from.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|