Doctors describe pain as acute when it lasts less than three to six months or chronic, which lasts longer than six months or continues after tissues heal. Some experts have specific criteria, defining chronic pain as pain that persists at least half of the time for six months or every day for three months.
Pain is incredibly complex because it arises from many different causes. All types and causes of pain in this list can cause chronic pain:
When an injury causes acute pain, nerves react and carry pain messages to the brain. If acute pain repeatedly stimulates the nerves and brain, they become overly sensitive.
In this state of hyperactivity, called central sensitization, even the slightest touch of clothing can cause intense pain. If you don't treat it, central sensitization becomes chronic, turning what started as acute pain into a long-term condition.
Dr. Clark specializes in interventional pain management, which uses methods such as nerve blocks, radiofrequency rhizotomy, cryogenic cooling, and electrical neurostimulation to stop nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
Regenerative platelet-rich plasma injections and stem cells may also relieve chronic pain as they promote healing the area causing pain.
Dr. Clark may also consider using spinal manipulation, which is very effective for conditions like lower-back pain and neck pain. Manipulation may also treat central sensitization by relieving pressure on nerves, so they send fewer pain signals.
Rehabilitative exercises are important for chronic pain relief. Improving flexibility and strengthening muscles decreases pain and helps you stay active. Exercise is first-line treatment for chronic pain.
At Premier Spine and Sports Medicine you can also receive acupuncture, which effectively relieves pain. It also strengthens your immune system, decreases inflammation, and improves mood.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!