Chronic pain is a little-understood condition that can have a multitude of potential causes, and devastating effects on a sufferer’s life. Despite its seriousness, it’s a condition that many people, even in the medical professions, don’t take all that seriously. But anyone who suffers chronic pain knows just how real it is. So do we.

How common is chronic pain?

Many Americans suffer from chronic pain. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 10 American adults surveyed said they have suffered pain that has lasted for a year or more. In a recent survey, the American Pain Foundation found that only 48 percent of Americans being treated for pain felt they were getting enough information about ways to manage their pain, while 51 percent of those surveyed felt they had little control over their pain.

What can I do about pain?

People with pain often try numerous remedies looking for relief, beginning with over-the-counter pain medications, ice packs and heating pads. When pain persists, specifically when the original injury has long since healed, a specialist is required to help restore quality of life.

Treatment for pain

Pain treatment generally follows a progressive order, beginning with more conservative treatments and becoming more involved, according to need. More than one treatment can be given at a time. In fact, the biggest improvements often result from several treatments working together. This diagram details a common progression of treatments.

Pain treatments generally progress until a stable remedy is found; however, the array of treatment options can be overwhelming, and patients with persistent pain may become discouraged, and even depressed, during the process. For this reason, it is imperative that your physician is both competent and empathetic, and strives to educate you about your conditions, your options, and what you should expect.