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Chronic Pain By Dr. Khawaja Shehryar Nasir

Dr. Khawaja Shehryar

3 min read

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When you get sick or injured, your body responds with pain. This is your body going: “Hey! There’s something wrong”. Normally, the pain stops as you recover. In some cases, the pain continues for a long period of time. This is what is known as chronic pain. This can also convert into chronic pain syndrome, when patients experience mental strains along with the pain. Below, we’ll go over chronic pain in detail.

What is chronic pain?

Pain is an unpleasant sensation. It is generally divided into two major categories:

1. Acute Pain

Is a type of pain that is associated with injury, illness or surgery. It is mostly due to changes in injured tissues or nerves. It is short-lasting and resolves once the injury has healed.

2. Chronic Pain

Is a type of pain that is associated with changes in the brain. Pain condition may last for months, or longer. Chronic pain is considered a health condition in itself.

What are common signs and symptoms?

Chronic pain may affect any part of the body. It may feel sharp, throbbing or dull in nature. It may cause burning or aching sensation in the affected area. Pain may come or go without any reason, or worsen with day-to-day activity. It can be steady or varying in intensity. It is often associated with fatigue and irritability, and may result in sleep issues.

Are there different kinds of chronic pain?

Chronic pain can occur in any part of body. The most common areas of pain are head, neck and back. It is unclear why these areas are affected the most. Some of the common chronic pain conditions include: headaches, arthritis pain, low back pain, neuropathic pain (pain related to nerves), and myofascial pain (pain originating from muscles).

What causes chronic pain?

The exact cause of chronic pain is not well understood. It may present without any prior warning and last for a long period of time. However, in some cases, this pain may occur either as a consequence of an injury, such as neck or back sprain, or may be a result of another underlying general or mental health condition, such as slipped disc, compression of a nerve, migraine disorder, temporomandibular disorder, or fibromyalgia.

What are the consequences?

Chronic pain is a serious health condition that may result in multiple additional general and mental health problems. Studies have suggested that severe or long-term pain conditions can result in depression, stress, sleep issues, as well as physical disability. This can result in difficulty in management of regular day to day affairs, such as work, studies, or attend social gatherings, and impact quality of life.

Is there a cure for this pain?

There is no cure for chronic pain. However, there are multiple treatment options available that can help manage these conditions. The goal of the treatment should be to manage and reduce pain and accompanying symptoms. Treatment options include but are not limited to medications, injections, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, and minor surgical procedures. Unfortunately what may work for one person may not offer any relief for the other. This is why it is critical to work in partnership with your doctor to identify treatments that work for you and allow you to live a fulfilling life without interruption from pain.

Whom should I see for management of chronic pain?

Doctors that specialize in the practice of pain medicine can help in management of your chronic pain condition. These particular doctors can help diagnose, and formulate a treatment plan for your chronic pain condition. Sometimes as part of your treatment plan, they may refer you to other health care specialist, such as physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, neurologist, or psychiatrist.

What does a diagnosis look like? 

When you visit your doctor, he will first take your medical history. He will jot down all the prior injuries and diseases you have gone through. This will help him understand what could have caused the pain.

Other type of questions can relate to the time of the start of the pain, the specific area that hurts, how much does it hurt on a relative scale, what exacerbates it, what type of pain is it, have you tried any treatment that has lowered the intensity of the pain etc.

Furthermore, your doctor can suggest going for some tests that can help  him get a better sense of the issue.

These tests can include: a CT scan which can capture in-depth pictures of the inside of your body, an X-ray which can capture the various parts of your body, or an MRI scan which utilises radio waves to create images of your organs and other body parts.

These imagery tests can be extremely helpful for the doctor to correctly diagnose where the pain is originating from.

If you are suffering from chronic pain conditions, then consult a professional now to help you deal with this pain. Book an appointment with a top orthopedic surgeon in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Khawaja Shehryar - Author Dr. Khawaja Shehryar Nasir is one of the leading pain management specialists in the country. He is currently practicing in Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center as an Orofacial Pain Medicine Consultant.
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