Learning about Chronic Pain


Sufferers of chronic pain no doubt cringe as the seasons change and the temperatures cool. Why? Chronic painful conditions get more intense and widespread in the cold months because nerves become more sensitive in the cold. Additionally, painful conditions feel worse in the winter because of the muscle and ligament stiffness that result from lower temperatures.

So what is chronic pain? It is a complex condition that affects tens of millions of Americans and, despite decades of research, is a condition that remains poorly understood and notoriously difficult to control. Some cases of chronic pain can be traced to a specific injury that has long since healed (an injury, serious infection, or even a surgical incision), while other cases have no apparent cause. Many cases of chronic pain are related to these conditions:

  • Low back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Headache
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Shingles
  • Nerve damage

The emotional toll of chronic pain can also make pain worse as anxiety; stress, depression, anger, and fatigue all interact in complex ways with chronic pain, while also decreasing the body’s production of natural pain killers. Pain is usually not the only symptom of chronic pain. Other problems associated with chronic pain include fatigue, sleeplessness, weakened immune system, and disability.

In fact, chronic pain is considered the number one cause of adult disability in the United States. Treating the underlying condition is vitally important, of course, but often that does not resolve chronic pain. Methodist Hospital for Surgery’s team of medical professionals is ready to work with patients to address their chronic pain. Members of the chronic pain team want to take into account each individual’s level of pain and work with the patient to create a plan to manage pain so daily living activities can continue to be as normal and convenient as possible.

To learn more about the pain management services at Methodist Hospital for Surgery, please call 469-248-3900.

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