Chronic Pain Information

Chronic Pain

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is a condition that describes persistent pain that lasts from weeks to years. While the duration of pain is not definitive, the term typically applies to persistent pain that endures for more than 12 consecutive weeks. Chronic pain is most common in people between 40 and 60 years of age.

What is the Difference Between Acute Pain and Chronic Pain?

Acute pain occurs suddenly, and is associated with injury or short-term illness. Pain that is acute will resolve within 3 months time. Examples of acute pain include sprains, minor burns, cuts, and muscle spasms. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain is persistent, subjective, and may arise from a variety of illnesses or psychological states.

What Causes Chronic Pain in the Body?

The causes of chronic pain are as broad as the condition itself. Some reported causes of chronic pain are illness, old injury, and genetic conditions. More specifically, some patients have been able to establish a correlation of their pain with: arthritis, nerve damage, depression, motor vehicle accidents and more.

Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can do more than just cause discomfort, it can negatively impact one’s sleep cycles and appetite. This often results in extreme fatigue and mood changes, with an increased risk of depression. The severity of pain can vary greatly. Patients on the higher end of the pain spectrum may end up on disability and may face serious degradations in quality of life.

How is Chronic Pain Diagnosed?

Pain is both personal and subjective. Because of this, it may be difficult to diagnose chronic pain. Physicians rely on the patient’s “pain history” to determine the optimal diagnostic method. This history includes a description of their pain (sharp, dull, constant, etc.), as well as the type, location, and severity. There are dozens of tests that can be run to precisely locate the pain and potentially uncover the cause.

Chronic Pain Management and Treatment

It is important to note that while chronic pain may be effectively treated, very rarely is there a “cure”. It is likely patients will need ongoing treatments for months, years, or an indefinite amount of time to manage their pain. At Southside Pain Specialists, we have a team of pain management doctors who will be with you every step of the way. We offer a comprehensive selection of treatment options to our patients dealing with chronic back, neck, leg and arm pain. Our pain clinic accepts patients on a referral-only basis. If you are a resident of Birmingham, Alabama or the surrounding region and are in need of advanced pain management, contact Southside Pain Specialists!