Chronic Pain Syndromes

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Dear Doctors,
I am 55 years old and have been active all my life. I had Gall Bladder surgery a year ago, and have had my appendix out when I was 35, but other than this I have had no surgeries and no serious health condition . I am a nurse and am on my feet all day. I usually feel good in the morning, but when the afternoon comes, I oftentimes feel hip pain, leg pain, and shoulder blade pain. I know that you cannot diagnose me by my letter, but is there some general information for people in my category to consider?

Answer:
Generally speaking what you are describing seems to fall in the classification of a “chronic pain syndrome”. Chronic pain is pain that usually continues after the body has healed from an illness or injury. In some cases it is possible there may not be an identifiable physical cause for the persistent pain. Chronic pain can occur anywhere in the body, and can range from mild, annoying pain to severe pain that interferes with moods and ability to function. Chronic pain is generally different from acute pain. Acute pain signals are due to actual or impending tissue damage that normally subsides after the injury that caused it. Chronic pain is usually defined as pain that lasts longer than three months.

Although the reason for chronic pain is not clear, pain signals are somehow triggered by the nervous system, and continue to fire for months or even years. It is also possible that certain brain chemicals that suppress pain may not work properly. Pain is caused when the nerves send pain signals through the spinal cord and into the brain. The brain responds with sensations such as sharp, tearing, burning pain and emotions such as a sickening feeling, fright, or depression. Once a person has healed from an injury or illness, the nervous system normally stops sending pain signals to the brain. In individuals with chronic pain, however, the nervous system continues to send pain signals resulting in prolonged pain. There are some conservative things that a person with chronic pain could benefit from besides relying on high doses of medication, which in some cases may not even be effective.

Many individuals with chronic pain greatly benefit from the following:

1. Getting down to and or maintaining their normal weight,

2. A generalized exercise program composed of aerobic and light weight training,

3. A diet consisting of a good portion of fresh fruit and raw vegetables daily,

4. Chiropractic Care consisting of spinal adjustments, joint mobilization, exercise rehabilitation and sometimes Guasha. Guasha is a technique utilizing an instrument to break up muscular adhesions, scar tissue and trigger points in muscles that often times limits mobility in joints and contribute to chronic pain syndromes

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