Acute pain develops suddenly but lasts a short time. Chronic pain is ongoing or recurrent pain that lasts at least three to six months. Pain may persist after an injury heals, or you may have an ongoing illness responsible for the chronic pain. In some cases, chronic pain develops even though an underlying cause isn’t identified.
Pain arises from many potential causes, but some of the most common include:
Any time you suffer acute pain, your nerves react and carry messages to the brain saying you’re in pain. If your nerves and brain are constantly stimulated by acute pain, they become hypersensitive – a condition call central sensitization.
Central sensitization makes nerves overreact to things that aren’t normally painful. You’ll feel intense pain from a slight bump or the touch of clothing. Central sensitization can turn acute pain into chronic pain.
Each patient’s pain management plan is customized to meet their needs with one or more types of therapies such as:
About 180 different medications are available that aren’t opioids -- one or more may work for you.
Regular exercise has been proven to reduce chronic pain. Physical therapy teaches exercises that are safe for you and incorporates other treatments that relieve inflammation and pain, such as massage, deep heat, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
Numerous studies show that spinal manipulation relieves chronic low-back pain just as well as other treatments, including taking pain-relieving medications. Additionally, chiropractic therapy that realigns or decompresses your spine has a body-wide impact because it relieves pressure on nerves and blood vessels. Chiropractic techniques can also be used to treat other areas of your body, such as your knees and feet.
Acupuncture restores balance to the natural flow of biologic energy, called Qi, which supports your body’s ability to heal. In addition to unblocking your energy, acupuncture also triggers the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters that relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and strengthen your immune system. Following a course of acupuncture treatment, improvement in chronic pain may last a year.
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