One in five Americans copes with chronic pain — defined as continuous pain that lasts more than three months. Left untreated, chronic pain can reduce your mobility, cause sleeplessness and fatigue, and rob you of your productivity and independence. These effects can lead to feelings of hopelessness and depression.
Chronic pain can be caused by many health conditions — arthritis, cancer, lower-back problems, nerve damage and other problems — and can be felt in any part of the body. In some cases, a specific cause cannot be pinpointed.
Treatment options include:
- Oral medications
- Injectable medications
- Surgery on nerves (usually as a last resort)
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Complementary and alternative therapies methods (such as acupuncture, chiropractic care and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS)
- Psychological therapy and support groups
Your treatment will be coordinated with your surgeon, internist or family doctor.