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Chronic Pain

Summary

Pain is a signal in your nervous system that something may be wrong. It is an unpleasant feeling, such as a prick, tingle, sting, burn, or ache. Pain may be sharp or dull. You may feel pain in one area of your body, or all over. There are two types: acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain lets you know that you may be injured or a have problem you need to take care of. Chronic pain is different. The pain may last for weeks, months, or even years. The original cause may have been an injury or infection. There may be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis or cancer. In some cases there is no clear cause. Environmental and psychological factors can make chronic pain worse.

Many older adults have chronic pain. Women also report having more chronic pain than men, and they are at a greater risk for many pain conditions. Some people have two or more chronic pain conditions.

Chronic pain is not always curable, but treatments can help. They include

  • Pain Relievers and other medicines
  • Acupuncture
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Relaxation and meditation therapy
  • Biofeedback

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Start Here

  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Pain Relievers: FreeFacebookCredits2012 Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (Beth Israel Medical Center, Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care, Continuum Center for Health and Healing)

Living With

  • (American Occupational Therapy Association)
  • (American Psychological Association) Also in
  • (American Chronic Pain Association)
  • (American Chronic Pain Association) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (National Center for PTSD)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Office of Disability Employment Policy)
  • (American Heart Association)

Specifics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (American Chronic Pain Association)

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (American Chronic Pain Association)

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Seniors

  • (American Geriatrics Society)

Patient Handouts

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