Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Potential Tissue Damage
The musculoskeletal system is the body’s framework of bones, muscles and connective tissues (including tendons and ligaments). It supports the weight of the body, protects internal organs and provides the means for movement. If any part of this system becomes damaged or malfunctions, pain may result. Pain may be acute (sudden) or chronic (long-lasting), confined to one area or more widespread and range from mild to debilitating. Other symptoms include swelling, warmth or redness, a reduced range of motion and popping sounds when the joint moves.
Acute pain lets you know that you’ve been hurt — it should go away once your body repairs the injury. Chronic pain, on the other hand, lasts for months or years. It can interfere with your daily activities and cause other health problems, such as fatigue or mood changes. Pain can be caused by injuries such as back sprains or pulled muscles. But it can also be a sign of underlying conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.
The goal of treatment is to relieve the pain and improve function. Treatment includes medication, physical therapy and learning specific coping strategies. For example, it is important to learn breathing techniques to relax the muscles and calm the mind. It is also helpful to find distractions and a healthy diet. Avoiding foods that can aggravate the pain and getting plenty of sleep is key. It is also important to get support from family and friends. This can help reduce the effects of depression and anger that sometimes occur with chronic pain. You can also find support groups through the internet or in your community.
Your healthcare team will evaluate your pain and other symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping or a decreased range of motion. They will ask you to rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Your provider may order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
There is no one treatment for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Services. Your care team will work together to identify and treat the underlying condition.
The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage.” Because only you can describe your pain, your doctor will consider how intense it is on a scale of 0 to 10, whether it comes and goes and what makes it better or worse. He or she will also ask you about your general health, such as whether you are depressed or anxious.