Chronic pain occurs when pain signals are continuously transmitted through the body's nervous system for weeks, months, or even years at a time. The pain may be instigated by something such as a neck sprain, a bad infection, or persistent conditions, like arthritis or cancer. However, some chronic pain sufferers apparently feel pain caused by an unknown source that has no connection to a prior injury or ailment. Adults are affected by a variety of chronic pain conditions including headache, lower back pain, cancer, arthritis, peripheral nerve damage, and psychogenic pain.
Chronic Pain Treatment Options
Possibilities for chronic pain treatment include prescription drugs, acupuncture, low-level electrical stimulation, brain stimulation, surgery as a last resort. Some doctors will administer placebos to patients exhibiting signs of chronic pain. For some people, the pain may be more imaginative than it is real, so the placebo effect gives them the impression that the medicine is reducing their pain. Less popular treatment options such as psychotherapy, relaxation and medication therapy, biofeedback, and behavior modification may also be used to address chronic pain.
Outlook for Chronic Pain Sufferers
Victims of chronic pain can be helped as long as they have a good understanding of what is triggering their pain and what remedies exist to target it. Medical researchers believe that neuroscientific breakthroughs will foster the development of superior chronic pain treatments in the near future.
Chronic Pain Research
Recent tests have discovered that patients with chronic pain have below average amounts of endorphins in their spinal fluid. Traditional acupuncture has been combined with electric treatment to create a procedure called electroacupuncture in which wires are connected to needles that stimulate the nerve endings to promote the release of endorphins. Additional experiments involving acupuncture found that higher quantities of endorphins were present in the cerebrospinal fluid after the treatment. Currently, scientists are examining the impact that stress has on chronic pain.
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