Chronic Pain

What Causes Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is a very complex diagnosis and may be a result of many things. Complex pain may result from peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, failed operations, trauma, or other conditions.

​​Causes

  • Peripheral Neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy is a complex diagnosis that may result from many different medical conditions. The symptoms show up in hands and/or feet and include numbness or tingling, pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, lack of coordination, and even weakness. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, but it may also be caused by chemotherapy, metabolic and endocrine disorders, or other causes.
  • Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder with by fatigue, widespread musculoskeletal pain, and tenderness in some areas when touched. There is no surgical treatment for fibromyalgia.
  • Trauma: Physical damage to nerves may lead to formation of “neuromas” that are very painful.
  • Spine Surgery: In rare cases when spine surgery fails to relieve pain, patients may be diagnosed with “failed back syndrome” or “post-laminectomy syndrome” when it occurs following a lumbar decompression.

Symptoms
Chronic pain resulting from painful nerve-related conditions may cause unrelenting nerve pain. Depending on the nerve(s) involved, the signs and symptoms of chronic pain from nerves is variable.

In some cases where other treatments have not provided adequate relief, a Spinal Cord Stimulator may be an operation to reduce pain in selected patients.

​Diagnosis

  • History: Your medical provider should appreciate that your medical history may contribute to chronic pain. It is also important to understand the timeframe for your symptoms, and what makes the symptoms worse or better. Your provider will also learn all previous treatments you have had, and if they have provided any relief.
  • Physical Examination: A physical examination is important to diagnose any conditions that may be treated to relieve any pain and suffering.
  • X-rays, MRI, and CT: These imaging techniques may be necessary to rule out any type of diagnosis that may lead to chronic pain.

Treatment
Most management of chronic pain is managed by pain management specialists or physiatrists. It is important to maintain a regular relationship with one physician to provide medications to avoid unsafe interactions or taking too much medication.

​In some cases where other treatments have not provided adequate relief, a Spinal Cord Stimulator may be an operation to reduce pain in selected patients.