How to Manage Chronic Pain: A Comprehensive Guide

Pain can be an overwhelming and debilitating experience, which can negatively affect every aspect of our lives. – And this can be especially difficult when the pain is long-term. Understanding what is causing our chronic pain by: arranging an accurate diagnosis from a renowned Pain Doctor; and then being given a comprehensive holistic, Personalised Treatment Plan to optimise our pain management, is clearly the way to go!

The Low-Down

Long-term pain can often be accompanied by physical symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, and heightened sensitivity to pain. Moreover, it can have a psychological impact, often bringing on irritability, anxiety, and depression. It is crucial to be mindful of the symptoms of chronic pain, and to consult a Pain Specialist, before further damage and degeneration occurs [1].

So What Are the Causes of Chronic Pain?

“Chronic pain can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic headaches. It can also be caused by physical trauma, such as a car accident, or even emotional trauma, such as a difficult life experience. Additionally, chronic pain can be caused by medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and endometriosis” [1]

Different Types of Long-Term Pain

Chronic pain can be separated into two general categories:
• Nociceptive pain
• Neuropathic pain

Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain is caused by inflammation and tissue damage, and normally generates feelings of burning or aching. Common causes include: strained muscles, arthritis, and tendonitis [1].

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is the result of damage to the nerves, and generally causes electric-like, burning, or sharp sensations. Common causes comprise: trigeminal neuralgia, multiple sclerosis, and diabetic neuropathy [1].

Your Pain Specialist will help you ascertain which form of chronic pain you have, as soon as they have reviewed your medical history; ascertained the type of lifestyle you have; and asked you various pertinent questions. It is a good idea to prepare a ‘Pain Diary’ before your first consultant with a Pain Doctor. – This should be divided into separate pages for each day, with hourly entry sections, under which you can note the type of pain (feelings) you experienced; how long the pain lasted; what you were doing at the time; and what you were doing just before the pain came on.

For example: 9am: I had been active doing things in the house, and when I walked into the kitchen, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a burning sensation on the upper part of my right leg (from the knee upwards). This lasted for around 15 minutes. This Pain Dairy will be invaluable for your Pain Specialist, as they will get an accurate snapshot of what you are experiencing.

What Sort of Tests Will the Pain Doctor Need to Make a Diagnosis?

The priority for your Pain Specialist, is to find out what the underlying cause of your pain, actually is. Every patient is different, however, in some cases, the Pain Doctor will arrange:
• An MRI
• An X-Ray
• Blood Tests
• Other diagnostic tests [1]

So What Treatment Options Will My Pain Doctor Recommend?

When it comes to long-term pain, your Pain Specialist is likely to take a multi-faceted approach to treatment. – This can include a combination of both conventional and cutting-edge treatments. These include:

• Medications (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, and opioids)
• Physiotherapy which is specifically designed to help ameliorate your pain, and improve any mobility issues. Moreover, the physiotherapist who works in conjunction with your Pain Doctor, may devise a personalised exercise program for you. Of note: “exercise can help strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility, which can reduce pain. Additionally, it can help improve overall health, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality” [1]
• Pain blocking injections (which can easily be administered by your Pain Consultant during your lunch time, or after work)
• Trigger point injections
• Botox
• Epidural steroid injections, and more


[1]. Bell, M. (2023). “Understanding Chronic Pain Management: A Comprehensive Guide.” The Health Science Journal.