What is chronic pain?

Pain is an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience associated with potential for, or actual tissue damage. (Merskey, 1964. IASP, 1986).

Pain is always subjective. Each individual learns what pain is to them when they experience injuries in early in life.

Why do we feel pain?

The feeling of pain is an adaptive response aimed at maintaining our survival (ex. Jerking our hand away when exposed to heat). Because of this acute pain may signify other problems.

When pain lasts longer than 3 to 6 months it becomes a chronic disease that must be treated as such

Is it normal to feel pain?

It is never normal to have pain but it may have become so common for some that it feels normal and they have forgotten how to live without it. When pain becomes chronic without being treated, we sometimes start to believe that it is normal and therefore can not be cured. Almost all pain can be treated if sometimes only partially, so it is a good idea to see what a Chronic Pain specialist can do for your.

Can it be measured?

Pain is a complex emotion, multifactorial and subjective. It is therefore useful to learn the words to describe and qualify it as this makes it easier for us to measure its progress and to discern whether treatment has been successful. We can provide assessment scales and test to assist in learning how to describe pain.

Are there Chronic Pain specialists?

There is no pain specialty per se in Spain, as it is a part of the larger specialty of Anesthesiology. However, not all anesthesiologists are dedicated to treating pain and other specialties are involved in its treatment, such as orthopedics, rheumatology, neurosurgery, internal medicine and oncologya. In other countries, like USA, exists this specialty.

Is the Pain Management Clinic the last resort?

It should not be. As it is advisable to visit a specialist of a specific organ, like a cardiologist when we have heart problems, it is also advisable to seek the advice of a Chronic Pain expert when we have unanswered questions about pain.

Can Chronic Pain be cured?

Chronicity or persistence of pain depends on the characteristics of the disease that cause it. Generally, the degenerative processes are not reversible and therefore control of the pain cannot be gained by healing the disease itself (eg osteoarthritis). But we can act on the pain they cause. There is an important arsenal of drugs and more sophisticated techniques to reduce and sometimes eliminate the pain. Sometimes only for awhile, sometimes for long periods..

Can operations be pain free?

During some operations pain is a sign that there is a problem and is therefore beneficial for insuring a successful procedure. However, once an operation has concluded, any further pain is unnecessary and our surgical specialties (orthopedics, general surgery, gynecology, ENT...) utilize a medication regimen to control postoperative pain. Unfortunately, still more than 25% of people who undergo surgery have postoperative pain. One of the objectives of our Chronic Pain team is the continued improvement of acute pain control, as explained more ahead.

I've been to many doctors to treat my chronic pain. What more can your pain specialists offer me?

A whole new outlook on pain treatment. Your pain is our main concern, not merely a side effect of some other problem. We have mastered the use of medication and techniques ranging from inflammatory relief to spinal neuromodulation. Our experience in the treatment of acute and chronic pain is broader than that of any other medical field.