Pain is simultaneously a physical sensation and an emotional experience, which also has complex social, psychological, and environmental factors. Sensitivity to pain varies widely from person to person and is experienced in a myriad of different ways. When we think of pain, we often think of acute pain, the type of pain we experience when stepping on a tack. The pain is sharp and piercing, but quickly resolves when we lift our foot off the tack.
Chronic pain is different in that it doesn’t completely resolve, sometimes even when the pain generator or root cause of the pain is addressed, with medications, physical therapy, injections or even surgery. It might increase or decrease, the patient may have better or worse days, but the pain is always there. This can be caused by overactive pain pathways to and from the brain in the nervous system, Sometimes, we can’t find a reason for the person to be experiencing pain. This is called idiopathic pain. When a person has pain for more than three months, it is classified clinically as chronic pain.
Chronic pain is quite common in the United States and is a growing problem which currently affects 20% of the population. Here is some data which you may find useful:
This research was published in the journal Pain®, Prevalence of chronic pain among adults in the United States, © 2021 International Association for the Study of Pain
- This study sought to determine the prevalence of chronic pain and its impacts among adults in the United States using the National Health Interview Survey, a household-based annual survey of self-reported health status of U.S. adults that can be used to generate national-level estimates.
- Using a chronic pain module introduced in the 2019 edition of National Health Interview Survey, we found that 50.2 million adults (20.5%) reported pain on most days or every day.
- The most common pain locations were back pain and hip, knee, or foot pain.
- The most used management strategies for chronic pain were physical therapy and massage.
- Respondents with chronic pain reported limitations in daily functioning, including social activities and activities of daily living.
- Respondents with chronic pain reported significantly more workdays missed compared with those without chronic pain (10.3 vs 2.8, P < 0.001).
- Overall, these findings indicate that more than 1 in 5 adults in America experiences chronic pain.
Patients who suffer with chronic pain have a compromised quality of life and could deal with depression, anxiety, stress, and other emotional issues.
At OSC, we offer Psychological and Behavioral Counseling as part of our comprehensive Interventional Pain Management program for our patients. Proven to be effective in the treatment of chronic pain, psychological interventions and therapies can be used in conjunction with medical treatments or as a stand-alone therapy for chronic pain. OSC’s Pain Psychologist, Dr. Andrew Martin, PsyD, provides support and counseling to chronic pain patients and offers the following therapies:
- Cognitive Therapy for Chronic Pain
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain
- Mindfulness & Meditation for Chronic Pain
Call 757-596-1900 for an appointment or schedule on-line. You do not have to be an OSC Pain Management or Orthopaedic patient to see Dr. Martin.