Chronic Pain Conditions, Causes, and Symptoms

Pain is always a difficult aspect of life but for some, there is relief in the healing process. Unfortunately for some, pain is a constant plague. There are certain conditions in which the main symptom is long-term pain and those with these conditions have to navigate multiple avenues to manage their symptoms. Luckily most of these conditions are diagnosable and while not all can be cured, they can be managed with the right methods.

Sciatica

Sciatica is a condition that most often affects those who have jobs that require a lot of standing throughout the day. Sciatica refers to pain in the sciatic nerve that runs from the tailbone along the back of the leg, down to the foot. Common symptoms include a burning or tingling sensation in the back of the leg, difficulty standing or walking, severe pain on one side of the body (it rarely happens in both legs), or worsening pain upon sitting. The sciatic nerve is actually the largest nerve in the body so when it hurts, it can be debilitating. Fortunately, sciatic pain is not a forever curse, with things like massage therapy, light exercise and stretching, most have found relief from sciatic pain.

Lupus

Lupus is a congenital disease that affects the immune system. Normally our immune system make antibodies that fight off infections, viruses and parasites. However, when a person has lupus, the body begins making autoantibodies that attack healthy tissue because the body cannot tell the difference between healthy and dangerous tissue. Lupus is considered a chronic pain condition, however it is not a continuous pain. Lupus is a disease that has flares. Lupus mostly strikes women between adolescence and pre-menopause with as many as 16,000 cases diagnosed every year. Pain is most often concentrated in the joints with these patients. Lupus pain can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, certain therapies like massage and acupuncture, and physical therapy.

Spinal Stenosis

Stenosis is a Greek word for “choking,” spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the spinal column. This causes undue pressure on the spinal cord. The spinal cord relays most of the body’s signals and when there is pressure on certain nerves, pain signals can become hectic. Like sciatic pain, spinal stenosis usually happens in the lower back and travels along the back of the leg. There are different causes of spinal stenosis including age, trauma, genetic conditions, and arthritis. Spinal stenosis is usually diagnosed through medical imaging procedures such as spinal MRIs, CTs or myelogram, a form of X-ray in which dye is injected to highlight the narrowing. Like other chronic pain conditions, spinal stenosis can be treated with physical therapy, exercise, medication, or spinal stenosis surgery.

If you have more questions about diagnosing your chronic pain conditions or want to schedule an appointment, please use our Request an Appointment feature or call our offices in Metairie at 504-883-8111.

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