If you look up the definition of pain, you will most likely find something along the lines of: “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.” Sounds like a correct definition, but is it complete? We look at it a bit differently, recognizing that no actual or potential tissue damage has to be present for a person to feel pain. What would you call the feeling one gets when someone close to them dies? What is the name of that overwhelming feeling one experiences when abandoned by a loved one? You get the point, right? This type of pain is called Psychalgia and can be as excruciating as physical trauma.
In other words, pain is frequently a mixture of physical and emotional factors which cause the person to suffer. Once this suffering crosses the border of reasonable time to healing, the pain becomes chronic.
Usually, chronic pain is defined as “Pain that lasts beyond the term of an injury or painful stimulus”. It is usually defined as pain that lasts longer than 3 months. Some experts define it as lasting longer than 6 months.
At CCC we believe that chronic pain may start much earlier than in 3 months after trauma. Here are some examples: Each of us experiences common little injuries on a regular basis, such as bumping into furniture, small cuts, muscle strains while exercising, etc. Some pain is expected after these injuries as it is expected to decrease and go away within several hours to several days. If the pain after such an injury lasts longer than usual it may become chronic and you may be developing a condition which is called “central sensitization.”
In simple terms, central sensitization means increased ability of the nervous system to sense stimuli. For example: light touch of the skin usually does not cause pain, however in chronic pain conditions it may become unbearable. Even after the initial trauma is healed, the condition persists and is very difficult to treat. Unfortunately, our nervous system is capable of memorizing not only good events, but also unpleasant ones, such as pain.
Statistics show that chronic pain affects about 24% of Americans.
2/3 of the pain sufferers rate their pain as moderate to severe, 1/3 describe it as constant and unremitting. 2/3 describe the problem as persisting for 5+ years, 2/3 say the pain interferes with normal, daily activities, 37% of patients feel isolated due to their pain.
There are five major types of chronic pain which manifest themselves as different pain conditions .
WE TREAT THEM ALL! To see a list of some of the treatment modalities available at our office, please visit the Treatment of Chronic Pain page.