Chronic Pain: Effects And Treatment Options Available

Posted on: 10 February 2015


Living with any type of chronic pain can rob you of joy, peace, comfort, and satisfaction in life. If you are starting to lose interest in life because of the pain you constantly feel, it's time to get help. Your general doctor might not be able to help you a lot with this pain, but a chronic pain centre can. Chronic pain centres understand pain and the causes of it, and they are able to help minimize most types of chronic pain.

Effects Of Pain On Mental Health

One of the most important things for you to understand is that chronic pain is not only miserable because of the way it makes your body feel, but it is also detrimental to your mental well-being. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there is a link between chronic pain and depression.

While doctors are not exactly sure why this correlation exists, they are starting to believe that it is due to the way pain affects the brain. When a person has chronic pain, there is a section in the brain that never stops working. This section is always active, which may be one of the causes of depression in people that have chronic pain. When the brain keeps working, it may not have time to work on other aspects of life, and this may be the reason a person's mental health begins suffering when he or she is dealing with constant pain.

Some of the problems this can lead to include:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Problems focusing
  • Anger

Because of these effects, treating chronic pain is not only about reducing the pain; it also involves treating the mental effects it may bring about.

Finding The Problem

Through research and trial and error, doctors are beginning to understand how and why pain occurs. Because of this, they are able to offer more effective treatment options, but the process always begins by narrowing down the problem. If you have a specific problem that is causing the pain, the process might begin by fixing the problem. If the problem cannot be fixed, doctors will study the problem to determine the best way to treat it.

When a person has any level of pain, it is due to chemicals passing through the person's nervous system. The goal of treating chronic pain is not only to fix the problem causing the pain, but it is also to target these chemicals and block them. To locate your pain, doctors will ask a lot of questions and may run various types of tests. For example, an MRI can help doctors see how the brain is affected by the pain a person is having. There are other types of tests that may also offer insight into the problem.

Treatment Options

Most pain management doctors will try treating chronic pain with medication. This is usually the first step and it often helps a lot. If this does not help, there are other options that might work, including:

  • Injections – There are a variety of different types of injections doctors may try to help reduce the pain you are having. This can include nerve block injections and epidural injections. Both are designed to block the nerves that are causing the pain.
  • Electrical stimulation – A TENS unit is a device that emits electrical currents to the body, and these currents are designed to reduce inflammation, encourage blood flow, and loosen muscles.
  • Spinal drug pumps – This option is often used when nothing else works and is designed to deliver small doses of medication directly to the spine.

Visiting a chronic pain centre might be your last resort, but it could also be the decision that finally helps you find relief. Treating your chronic pain will help you feel better physically and it may also help you feel better mentally and emotionally. You can find out more information by checking out a pain specialist's website like