Pain is one of the most common reasons why someone goes to the doctor. This is for both acute (sudden) and chronic (long-term) pain. If non-medical treatment doesn't work, such as rest, ice, exercise, for example, the next step is usually to use medications. Analgesics, medications to relieve pain, are among the most widely prescribed medications because of the high number of people who live with pain.
It's long been thought that depression and chronic pain were tightly connected. Both depression and chronic pain are common disorders in the Western world and both play a big role in the lives of patients, health care, and economics for employers. Many studies have found a connection between the two, leading researchers to believe that one influences the other in many patients.
When some people experience pain, particularly chronic pain, they can catastrophize the pain, believing that everything can and will get worse than it is. Many researchers have looked into this behavior in an attempt to discover just how it affects pain and healing. Research is also being done into how others see, or perceive, the pain being experienced by someone else. Understanding the perception of pain would result in better patient assessments.
It's a chicken and egg question. Does depression, difficulty sleeping, and bad memory come before fibromyalgia - and possibly cause it? Or does fibromyalgia cause depression, difficulty sleeping, and bad memory?Posted November 6th, 2008 by Matt
When it comes to fibromyalgia, there's more that doctors don't know than they do know. However, there are many people who are very vibrant, active, intelligent and who hold very demanding jobs before they get sick and are diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia, a disease that is still not completely understood, is the subject of much research. Besides the fatigue associated with fibromyalgia, many people with fibromyalgia experience chronic pain that is difficult to treat. Other hallmark complaints are difficulty sleeping and depression. Now, along with these problems, researchers believe that many people with fibromyalgia also experience significant changes in their mental function.
With all this research on how we feel affecting how we feel pain, why have doctors not yet found out how to treat the pain?Posted October 30th, 2008 by Matt
The idea that psychological issues and psychosocial issues affect how we feel and interpret pain has been researched for quite some time now. Unfortunately, although the idea is there and some research definitely points in the direction of psychology affecting some aspects of pain, there isn't any hard evidence on many ways that doctors can use this knowledge to treat pain.
Does complex regional pain syndrome have anything to do with any other illnesses? Can some illnesses make you at higher risk of developing it?Posted October 30th, 2008 by Matt
This is a question that researchers are working on now. Since doctors don't know what causes complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), if they can find a connection to other illnesses, they may be able to figure it out. A recent study has found that there may be a connection between asthma and migraines, and CRPS. In both asthma and migraines, there can be swelling inside the body - and doctors are thinking that this may be one of the issues in CRPS as well.
My niece was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome after she sprained her ankle a few years ago. She is in a tremendous amount of pain. Why can't doctors help her?Posted October 30th, 2008 by Matt
Complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, is a syndrome that has been recognized since the Civil War. Unfortunately, despite doctors knowing about it for that lone, how to treat it is still a mystery. One of the problems is that doctors and researchers don't understand why CRPS happens and how it works. Until the cause of a disease is discovered, it's very difficult to find a cure.
It's long been suspected that psychological issues can have a significant impact on chronic pain and how people perceive chronic pain. In the early days of human development, it's thought that pain was a survival mechanism, an internal alarm of sorts. In order to not feel pain, humans would learn to adapt to their surroundings by not doing things that would cause pain or increase or intensify pain. This led to fewer injuries or less severe ones.
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a painful disorder that can occur after a seemingly minor trauma or accident. Although it usually begins after an injury, there are some people who do develop CRPS just like that, spontaneously. The pain of complex regional pain syndrome can be debilitating, affecting a person's life severely.