Understanding the causes of chronic pain is essential in order to treat it. Diagnostic tests will help you determine the cause of chronic pain. If your pain persists over three months, these tests may be required. Once the cause of your pain is determined, a healthcare provider can prescribe the right treatment.
Chronic pain can be a real problem. It may have no apparent cause, and may only affect one part of your body or many at once. It can also affect your mobility and cause tension. For chronic pain, it is a good idea to consult your doctor. He or she will perform a thorough physical examination and collect a complete medical history. In some cases, additional tests such as imaging and outpatient lab work may be required. These tests will help you determine the best treatment options.
Chronic pain is caused by repeated stimulation of cells and nerve fibers in the body. This can alter the structure of cells and make them more sensitive. This can cause pain from stimulation that is not normally painful. Additionally, trigger points can cause pain radiating to other parts of your body from sensitive areas of muscle.
There Are Many Treatment Options
There are many treatment options available for chronic pain. These include medication, behavioral therapies or both. Behavioral therapies can help you learn to cope with your pain by developing coping mechanisms, while medication can treat the specific symptoms of the pain. Talking to your doctor about your options is key to determining the best course of action.
Non-opioid medications such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants may also be prescribed. You may also be prescribed vitamins or herbal preparations to manage your pain. Opioids can also be dangerous for your long-term health. Therefore, it is important to consult a pain specialist to reduce your intake of opioids.
There are many treatment options available for chronic pain depending on the severity and location of your pain. These methods may involve medications, trigger point injections, lifestyle changes, or supportive physical therapy. Any treatment aims to improve function and minimize negative effects.
A recent study by The Institute of Medicine found that chronic pain costs Americans $4,475 billion. This includes wage replacement and productivity loss. Hospital stays and outpatient hospital care were the main drivers of chronic pain healthcare costs. These costs accounted to 63% of the direct medical expenses per participant in the study. These figures are conservative and do NOT include pain in children or adolescents.
In Ireland, chronic non-cancer pain was estimated to cost 2% of Ireland’s GDP in 2008. Although estimates can vary, chronic pain continues to be a significant burden in terms both of lost productivity as well as health care costs. This is an important reason why alternative treatment models should be explored.