Chronic pain, which is one whose duration exceeds three months, affecting 17% of the Spanish population. Chronic pain is one of the priority areas of biomedical research, however, few novel and with a clear benefit-risk who have joined in the last decade therapies.
Specialists in Pain Unit say that, in many cases, it is possible to identify the cause of pain and treat it specifically; even to change the course of the disease. When the somatosensory nervous system that transmits and processes painful stimuli, it works correctly, called nociceptive pain and patients respond positively to treatment, the somatosensory system, which is one that transmits and processes painful stimuli, is considered intact. This means that the nervous system works properly, what is called somatic pain. However, if the somatosensory nervous system itself is damaged, treatment is more complex and, consequently, less successful results. This is known as neuropathic pain.
Chronic pain is very complex. If an intense peak stimulus is accompanied by emotional stress or repetitive and maintained a long-time pain, can produce functional changes in the nervous system that make it increasingly sensitive to later stimuli. This can cause even to non-painful stimuli as a simple touch in distant parts of the initial noxa, it can be perceived as pain. At this point, the chances of cure diminish pain, even if properly treated the initial cause. Pain has been memorized, and the initial emotional experience is repeated again and again, although the tissue injury has healed.
What happens if chronic pain is not treated
If the pain is not treated adequately in its initial stage, the patient goes through different phases of personal deterioration.
- In the first phase predominantly related interruption feeling. That is, the pain impacts every time care and patient behavior. At this stage the search for the cause of pain, which can cause worry and anxiety that may cause disability starts.
- The second phase is known as interference and is characterized by the inability of the person to perform tasks effectively; whether domestic, social or work tasks.
- Finally, the last phase affects one 's identity. The patient loses self-esteem and feels like a useless person and an embarrassment to his family.
In this evolution of personal deterioration, the patient usually often feel anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia.
Given the complexity of chronic pain, it can not be treated with a single therapy, technique or drug. Treatment for chronic pain must be early and multidisciplinary.