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Hugging a Pillow



What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is often described as useless suffering, meaning it’s not identifiable to a specific treatable disease or ailment. It’s a widespread affliction that causes extensive pain well beyond the typical recovery period. It can also occur in conjunction with incurable chronic health conditions like arthritis and cancer. Between increased medical expenses, lost income, inability to participate in usual physical and social activities, sleep imbalances, and depression, Chronic Pain can severely reduce your overall quality of life.

What Causes Chronic Pain?

There are numerous causes of chronic pain that will look different for everyone. Some common causes include:

  • Cancer

  • Arthritis

  • Buildup of scar tissue

  • Injury that didn’t heal properly

  • Nerve damage or compression

  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

  • Myofascial pain syndrome

  • Sciatica

  • Whiplash injuries

  • Trigeminal neuralgia

  • Migraines

  • Scoliosis

  • Spinal Stenosis

  • Lupus

  • Psoriatic Arthritis

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Post-surgical pain

  • Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Many other conditions can cause chronic pain

Chronic Pain and Mental Health

The discussion of chronic pain often involves some aspect of mental health, and for good reason. Pain is not meant to last and living with daily pain can be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging. The way you participate in your daily life can completely change. Chronic pain frequently leads to what is known as Chronic Stress, which alters the level of stress hormones and neurochemicals found within the nervous system and brain. An imbalance of these chemicals can affect your mood, how you think, and your behavior. For some people, this may lead to mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Ketamine is an excellent treatment available to help alleviate these symptoms and is fully covered by insurance! 

How to Treat Chronic Pain

Treatment for chronic pain can look different for everyone depending on your symptoms and how it’s affecting you. There are ways you can help yourself by making healthier choices that improve your overall health such as reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, improving your diet, and losing excess weight.  Finding a suitable form of exercise that you enjoy can be a great tool to learn how to cope with the chronic stress.

We can address most cases of chronic pain with a combination of treatments. These include:

  • Ketamine Treatment

  • Physical therapy

  • Stretching and strengthening

  • Medication Management

  • Low-dose opioids

  • Anti-seizure medications for nerve pain (neuropathy)

  • Low-dose tricyclic antidepressants

  • Epidural steroid injections

  • Trigger point injections

  • Joint injections (shoulder, finger, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, toe etc.)

  • Nerve blocks

  • GON block

  • TON block

  • Stellate ganglion block

  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy



At APEX Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, board-certified physician John H. Bissell, M.D., provides a wide variety of treatments for pain management that not only relieves your symptoms but improves the overall health of your afflicted area. If you're struggling to identify the cause and manage your pain, call us to set up an appointment. 

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