What is Chronic Pain?

Dr. Pamela Squire, MD, CCFP, DCAPM, ISAM, CPE, discusses What is Chronic Pain?

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Dr. Pamela Squire, MD, CCFP, DCAPM, ISAM, CPE, discusses What is Chronic Pain?
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Featuring Dr. Pamela Squire, MD, CCFP, DCAPM, ISAM, CPE

Duration: 1 minute, 41 seconds& What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is whatever the patient says it is.  

There is no test that shows chronic pain. We define chronic pain as pain that's been around for three months or well past the time when you'd expect tissues to heal.

You need to think about chronic pain as a system that's similar to a computer, so think of it as hardware and software. The hardware are the nerves that attach to your spinal cord and your brain, but the entire thing is run by a software program. You can have problems with the hardware and the software.  

Let me give you an example of a software problem that causes pain. An acute example would be migraine where there is no problem with the hardware. We all know that people with an acute migraine have a normal CT scan.  

An example of a software problem with chronic pain would be phantom limb pain where not only do they not have a problem with the hardware, they don't have the hardware.

You should see or ask for a referral to a group of physicians who manage chronic pain when the chronic pain is having a significant effect on your life; when it's creating difficulties for your sleeping, when you're having a hard time with your mood, when it's affecting your ability to work, and none of those or some of those aspects are not improving with the care that you're receiving.

You may also want to see a pain specialist or a team when you're having a difficult time understanding your pain, for instance, when you may have phantom pain or other pain that your physician finds hard to explain.

Presenter: Dr. Pamela Squire, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.