The Truth Behind Chronic Pain

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“Does he or she is suffering from the pain?” It’s a common question that comes into the mind of family and friends of patients suffering from chronic pain, and the answer is “yes- all pain is real.”

So, the patient is the only one who can tell how much pain he is in and how badly his quality of life is affected. Patients suffering from chronic pain have long been told it’s all in their heads, but science now proved that’s wrong.

Over 200 million individuals throughout the planet are affected by chronic pain conditions. Chronic pain is a bunch of severe disorders that frequently exist together in the same patient.

Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks despite medication and treatment. Sometimes patients recover from chronic pain after surgery. But sometimes, pain caused by injury or without it lasts for longer.

Chronic pain sufferer; 60-year-old woman, Tricia Kalinowski, suffers from headache and neck pain. While her physiotherapist was trying to tackle these problems through physical therapy, another area of her body would start to hurt, like her lower back, hip, or jaw.

Kalinowski, who lives in Minneapolis, US, said, “The physio was chasing the pain up and down my body.” Then she was referred to one oral surgeon, and he diagnosed that the foundation problem is in one joint of her jaw, so she underwent surgery to replace a thumbnail-sized disc.

And unfortunately, her replacement was a failure; that trigger an immune reaction that resulted in the loss of several inches of the jawbone. And it took 13 rounds of surgery to fix the damage – the final of which was performed in 2015. “The irony to all the surgeries is that I still have headaches, I still have neck pain, and nobody knows quite what to do about it,” she reported.

“The brain pathways that drive depression are intrinsically linked to the ones that drive chronic pain,” said Dr Kirsty Bannister.

Pain is irritating, however, a brief sensation for most people with chronic pain. That results because of sickness or injury.  But few patients may encounter continuous or constant pain. And it’s a common belief that there should be some physical injury like a crushed nerve or an inflamed joint.

Progressively, however, specialists are waking up to the possibility that ongoing pain can happen with no physical injury. Or it can result in a different region of the body from the first site of tissue damage.

There’s additionally increasing proof that there are different conditions that constant migraines, low back pain, and jaw pain might share standard primary mechanism. And that once an individual develops one chronic pain condition, they’re inclined to foster others.

 

Chronic Pain and Covid Infection:

Initially taking a look at chronic pain and long Covid, Linda Geddes investigates the developing acknowledgement that pain can be an illness all by itself. And she further said that the pandemic could be aggravating it.

The Covid-19 pandemic could exacerbate things. Quite possibly, the most well-known indication revealed by individuals with “long Covid” is musculoskeletal pain. And the patients suffering from musculoskeletal pain are in more danger of suffering from more pain than that caused by Covid illness.

“Musculoskeletal pain is an issue that we must start considering as a long Covid problem,” reported Prof Lars Arendt-Nielsen, past president of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) and director of the world’s largest translational pain research center at Aalborg University in Denmark.

Vicky Naylor, 55, a nurse from Wigan, in the UK, developed fibromyalgia after undergoing an emergency C-section 11 years ago. Still, she was able to control her symptoms through a combination of swimming, yoga, and medication.

But when she got a Covid infection, her symptoms got more severe and worse. And she is not the only person who is experiencing more severe and ongoing pain after Covid. Almost 1100 chronic pain patients were reported to suffer from more severe pain when they got covid.

 

 

‘A trial and error experiment’:

Sadly, our health system is ill-equipped for approaches to chronic pain, most commonly for patients with chronic pain syndrome. Like most chronic pain patients out there, Kalinowski needs to take multiple drugs to get through the day. And it took her years to find out which pain medicine and treatment of chronic pain is best for her.

“Over the past ten years, there’s been the widespread recognition that pain can be a disease in and of itself, and a growing understanding that it is a multi-system illness, and that there are shared mechanisms of disease across these conditions,” reported Christin Veasley Co-founder and director of the US-based Chronic Pain Research Alliance.

This is not the same thing suggesting that someone’s central nervous system or mental attitude condition can affect the intensity and duration of pain. “Rather, people often don’t realise that the brain pathways that drive depression are intrinsically linked to the ones that drive chronic pain,” says Dr Kirsty Bannister, she is a senior lecturer at King’s College London, who researches these pain pathways.

The patient’s experience of pain is unique to himself. And no one can measure it from outside. And no standard machine is developed to measure that from how much pain a patient is going through. Though functional MRI is available, it can only detect areas of the body in pain, not the intensity of pain.