Ever wonder why some people seem to have a higher tolerance for pain than others? New research suggests the answer is genetic.
The research forms part of an investigation into the causes of chronic pain.
Unlike normal or "acute" pain - the sensation triggered by the nervous system to alert the body to possible injury - chronic pain is persistent, with pain signals continuing to fire in the nervous system for weeks, months or years.
Chronic pain can come from an ongoing ailment, such as arthritis, cancer or an infection; from a one-off injury such as a sprained back; or it can even occur in people who have suffered no specific injury or illness.
People who suffer from chronic pain may get combinations of headaches, low back pain or nerve pain, among other symptoms. People with chronic pain also might have chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, or any number of other ailments.
Doctors may take a variety of approaches in treating chronic pain. Medication management, minimally invasive procedures, local electrical stimulation, and even surgery may be used, depending on the case.
Previous research into chronic pain has found that patients with this condition often have low levels of endorphins in their spinal fluid, so some treatments are aimed at stimulating endorphin levels.
Finding genes that may play a role in pain perception could provide a target for developing new therapies and help physicians better understand their patients' perceptions of pain.
In the meantime, a full non-narcotic pain management plan or program should be put in place using multiple focuses and the entire medical team. For more information, contact Franklin Pain and Wellness Center.