Living with chronic persistent pain has a tremendous impact on psychological and physical wellbeing with many patients experiencing sleep disturbances, disruptions in social relationships, decreased cognitive function, decreased physical functioning, interference with activities of daily living, decreased productivity, increased anxiety and depression, and decreased quality of life.
- Back pain
- Headaches and migraine
- Inflammatory bowel disorder
- Musculoskeletal injury and trauma
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Autoimmune disease
Common to all of these conditions is inflammation (from the Latin inflammatio, to set on fire). Inflammation is a complex biological response by the body to injury or assault, as it attempts to remove the stimulus and initiate tissue healing. It manifests as symptoms such as swelling, heat and redness with attendant pain as blood flow increases to the affected area and immune cells accumulate to eliminate the cause of injury and initiate the healing process.
Current strategies for pain management rely largely on medications. Unfortunately, as society’s need for pain management increases, so does awareness about the risks of pain relieving drugs. Increasing evidence of serious health risks, including organ damage and death, have left patients and health professionals looking for safer alternatives. In addition, traditional painkillers are rarely effective at reducing nerve pain.
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