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Chronic pain is persistent pain that never seems to go away. It is defined as pain that has not gone away or recurs frequently over a six-month period. While the pain may not be constant, it is the dominant fact of life for many chronic pain sufferers.
According to the American Medical Association, one in five Americans suffers from chronic pain while more than 75 million people are partially or totally disabled by pain. And 45% of all Americans seek care for persistent pain at some point in their lives. Chronic pain is the number one reason people seek medical care. Today, the annual cost of chronic pain in the United States, including healthcare expenses, lost income and lost productivity, is estimated to be $100 billion.
If you suffer from chronic pain, it can often lead to depression, isolation, broken marriages, and destroyed friendships. Traditional treatment with pain medication can also lead to drug addiction because the medication just doesn't offer the relief that patients need. Chronic pain can interfere with every aspect of a person’s life: work relationships, self-esteem and emotional well-being.
Chronic pain develops from several different causes, such as normal aging, which can affect bones and joints. Other common causes are nerve damage, and injuries that fail to heal properly. However, in many cases, the source of chronic pain can be complex, which leads to difficulty with diagnosis.
Conservative options that include over-the-counter medications and physical therapy are available to offer relief, but they may not always work. With help from your pain specialist, you can find relief from your chronic pain.