Chronic pain management refers to strategies for dealing with pain that lasts longer than six months, explains WebMD. Approximately 100 million Americans suffer from this condition, ranging from mild, occasional outbreaks to intense and continuous periods of pain.
Chronic pain involves pain signals traveling around the nervous system for months or years at a time, and the toll it can exact from a person is significant. Most commonly, chronic pain comes from headaches, joints or the back, although injuries, tendinitis, sinuses, carpal tunnel in the hands and pain affecting other specific parts of the body can also become chronic, according to WebMD. Chronic pain can start with an initial infection or injury, or an ongoing cause can simply worsen.
In addition to over-the-counter and prescription medications, psychological treatment is necessary for many cases of chronic pain because of the connections between the body and the mind, notes WebMD. As time goes by, chronic pain can interact with fatigue, anger, depression and stress and curtail the body's natural production of chemicals that suppress pain. Negative feelings can cause the body to produce chemicals that boost pain sensations, leading to a vicious cycle, making psychological and physical management vital for a healthy life.