Most of the time pain goes away after an injury heals. However, if pain persists more than a month or two, it can become chronic pain. Sometimes pain becomes chronic because the underlying problem does not heal. For instance, arthritis causes long term inflammation and damage to the joints, and it may hurt as long as the inflammation lasts. Unfortunately, chronic pain may also occur despite healing and with no obvious injury to tissues. This may be the result of damage to the nerves that transmit pain (neuropathic pain), but chronic pain also affects the entire nervous system, sometimes in a permanent way.
When any type of pain lasts a long time there can be changes in the spinal cord and the brain that change how we perceive painful sensations. These changes may result in severe pain with little or no painful stimulus. Some chronic pain can be very difficult to treat and can become so frustrating for patients that it is often accompanied by depression or other emotional problems. It is this type of pain that represents some of the most challenging problems a pain management specialist can face.
For more information on chronic pain, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Attleboro, MA.