Challenging Persistent Pain

Living with constant pain is a struggle, both physically and emotionally. If you have pain that just refuses to go away, it may be time to see a pain management specialist, says the Montefiore Hospital's Dr Simon Thorp.

"Pain is something we all experience from time to time," says Dr Simon Thorp. "We fall ill, hurt ourselves and sometimes have aches and pains for no apparent reason. It's an indication that something is not quite right in our body and can protect us from doing further damage.

"In most cases, the painful symptoms either go away by themselves or can be resolved quickly and easily by your GP. But occasionally, the pain just won't go away no matter what you do. This type of pain is often associated with back and joint conditions; neuralgia - a sharp shocking pain that follows the path of a nerve; and pain that persists after having surgery.

"A pain specialist will be able to recommend the best approach to managing your pain. In recent years there have been many advances in drugs that provide pain relief. A pain specialist will review any drugs that you are currently taking and identify the most effective ones for your type of pain.

"Living with persistent pain can take its toll emotionally as well as physically and it is quite common for patients to suffer from depression and feelings of isolation. In many cases the pain specialist will call upon a psychologist trained in pain to help treat the emotional component of the patient's symptoms."

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