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How is Chronic Pain Diagnosed and Treated?

 

 

 

Doctor studying a patient X-ray

When you feel pain, it is your body telling you that something isn’t right, whether it is a signal that you are hurt or you are ill. If you have pain that lasts for anywhere from three to six months or longer, and nothing you try is making it go away for good, you might have chronic pain. 

As you can imagine, this condition can have a negative effect on you, not only physically but also emotionally. Therefore, talking to your doctor about your chronic pain, and discussing treatment options, is always recommended. Before you do, though, you might want to have a deeper understanding of what chronic pain is all about, including how it is diagnosed and how it is treated with conventional and natural options like CBD oil from businesses like Floyds of Leadville. Check out the information below to learn more. 

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Pain?

If you are feeling pain, you might not be sure if it is actually chronic pain or something else, so it is a good idea to get to know the main symptoms that are associated with chronic pain.  

In addition to pain anywhere in the body that won’t go away and can limit your mobility and flexibility, other symptoms might develop as well. Those symptoms include depression, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, feelings of guilt, poor sleep, suicidal thoughts, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, decreased appetite, mood changes, and a lack of interest in sex. And those symptoms might lead to problems with your relationships, as well as issues at work, such as job loss. 

What Can Cause Chronic Pain?

Although experts are not entirely clear on what causes chronic pain, they do have a basic idea of what could be behind the pain in some patients. Sometimes, for example, they can pinpoint an underlying medical condition that is causing the pain, or they can talk to you about a recent injury that you sustained that might be causing the chronic pain. 

Some of the health problems that may include chronic pain as a symptom include arthritis, joint problems, muscle sprains, muscle strains, fibromyalgia, nerve damage, back pain, acid reflux, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Lyme disease, endometriosis, broken bone(s), surgery, cancer, and repetitive stress injuries. Beyond that, chronic pain might even be the result of a mental health ailment, such as depression. 

How Is Chronic Pain Diagnosed?

The problem with pain is that it is really a subjective experience. This means that what is considered severe pain for one person might be considered only minor pain to another person. As a result, there aren’t yet any tests that could accurately measure a person’s pain or even locate where it is coming from. And that means that medical pros can have a difficult time when it comes to diagnosing chronic pain and its causes. 

If you see your doctor about your chronic pain, he or she will likely discuss things like the timing of your pain and where in your body the pain is located. You will also be asked to describe the type of pain that you are experiencing. You can tell the doctor if your pain is constant or if it comes and goes, and whether it is dull or sharp, as a few examples. You might even describe your pain as aching, pinching, shooting, stinging, pounding, throbbing, or burning, as a few other examples. Be as descriptive as possible to help your doctor better comprehend exactly what you are going through. 

In terms of medical tests that can help diagnose the cause of your chronic pain, your doctor does have a few options. These include computed tomography, which is better known as a CT scan, as well as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Both of those tests can capture images of the inside of your body, but traditional x-rays can also be used to do the same. All of these tests can look for things like joint damage that can be the cause of pain. Beyond that, EMG tests can determine if there are weak muscles, while nerve conduction tests can check for damaged nerves.  

A blood test might also be used to check for autoimmune disorders that can cause chronic pain. For example, your doctor might check for conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. On top of that, he or she might also look for any signs that other conditions or deficiencies might be to blame. 

Ultimately, you need to work with your doctor closely and have plenty of patience. You will need to be able to tell your doctor as much about your pain as possible, including information on when it started, what you have done to try to relieve the pain, and what has worked or failed to relieve the pain. By giving your doctors as many details as possible, you can be closer to finding the cause and solution to your pain. 

How Is Chronic Pain Treated?

To help you get relief from your chronic pain, your doctor will tailor a treatment plan that is based upon the diagnosis that is reached after tests and exams are completed. 
As a few examples of treatment options for chronic pain, your doctor might prescribe physical therapy (heat packs, cold packs, massages, stretches), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (also known as TENS), occupational therapy, spinal cord stimulation, relaxation techniques that include meditation and breathing exercises, biofeedback, braces, counselling, and nerve blocks. 

Surgery might be necessary to resolve a condition that is causing your chronic pain. Or you might be given prescriptions for medications that can help relieve the pain, such as anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and NSAIDs. 

See Your Doctor About Your Pain

Now that you have a better understanding of what chronic pain is, how it is diagnosed, what can cause it, and how it can be treated, you are more than ready to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Remember, the sooner that you are diagnosed, the sooner you can be treated properly so that you can get some much-needed relief from your pain, so don’t hesitate to see your physician and discuss what you are going through.

 

 

 

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