Where does chronic pain come from?
This is a common question asked by those tired of waking up sore and stiff instead of refreshed. A frustrating remark made by people who can’t remember a time they didn’t struggle to do basic tasks because of burning, lancing or stabbing pains. It’s one thing to know what caused your chronic pain, but another to know how it manifests throughout the body and affects nearly everything you do. A brain surgeon may be able to answer why your pain levels haven’t been able to abate with over-the-counter treatment and bed rest.
Being honest with the severity of your pain is the first step you’ll be taking on your road to recovery, even before you speak with a brain surgeon on the matter. You shouldn’t be living with excessive stiffness in your neck or lancing pain in your back every time you bend down, but unfortunately, the nature of chronic pain means it can be very easy to get used to these symptoms. It’s estimated over one billion people live with chronic pain every day, making this one of the most widespread health issues as we know it. While pain medication and physical therapy can significantly reduce symptoms, sometimes a brain surgeon will be involved.
What overall types of chronic pain are there? The most common form in the United States is lower back pain, followed very closely by hip pain, knee pain and wrist pain. Upper neck pain and shoulder pain is also fairly widespread, particularly among those that work very demanding physical jobs that either require sitting or standing for long periods of time. Chronic pain is defined as any pain that lasts for three months or longer, with symptoms erupting multiple times per week. A recent study estimated over 80% of adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives.
Where you stand in terms of chronic pain will determine which medical care you should be seeking out. Spine damage isn’t so easily corrected with the aid of a little stretching or relaxing, always a sign of a deeper problem that may require you to find a neurosurgeon to ensure it doesn’t become worse. Degenerative disc disease (also known as DDD) is a fairly common issue that will affect around 30% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 50. This condition can cause extreme difficulties with mobility and moderate to severe pain for the average sufferer.
A bulging disc is able to originate in any of the three spinal regions, from the cervical (or upper) to the lumbar (lower). The vast majority of bulging discs, however, occur in the lower back as already explored above. Lumbar spinal fusion will join or fuse two or more vertebrae in the lower back to reduce pain and encourage a slow, steady healing process. It’s estimated over 50,000 neurostimulaters are implanted around the world every year to combat these rates. While surgery may sound extreme, it may be the best option to ensure you no longer have to live with chronic pain.
The benefits of brain surgery or minimally-invasive surgery for chronic pain can’t be understated. The pain relief provided by spinal cord stimulation may not just reduce pain, but put patients in a better position to circumvent pain medications and therapy in the day-to-day. One study’s participants undergoing a high-frequency therapy either drastically reduced their opioid medications or stopped taking them altogether. Another study saw around 60% of people who received spinal cord stimulation surgery feeling significant relief one to two years after the procedure.
If you’re concerned brain tumors or a slipped disc could be the source of your pain, speaking with a brain surgeon can shed some light on how to start on your path to recovery.