Chronic Pain – A Basic Introduction

Chronic Pain pic
Chronic Pain
Image: WebMD.com

Anesthesiologist and pain control specialist Dr. Benjamin Wiseman stands out as retired medical director of the Pain Management Center and Tupelo Anesthesia Group Pain Services at North Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Benjamin Wiseman now serves as a consultant to pain management clinics.

Defined generally as any pain that lasts for an extended period of time, chronic pain affects approximately 100 million people across the United States. The most common time frame for a chronic pain diagnosis is six months, though some physicians may diagnose the condition as early as 12 weeks from onset of pain. Chronic pain may stem from a wide variety of root causes and may present with a number of different kinds of pain. The patient’s description the pain proves essential in developing a treatment plan.

In treating a patient with chronic pain, a physician first takes a pain history that includes onset of pain and defines its frequency, quality, and duration. Once the pain is defined, the patient and his or her health-care team determine appropriate interventions. These may include medication as well as procedures such as nerve blocks, electrical stimulation, or surgery. Many patients also find that alternative therapies, such as meditation and acupuncture, can be helpful in controlling the mental and physical distress that accompanies chronic pain.

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