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Chronic pain: Getting the diagnosis right is the first step

Injuries take place for many reasons, and as someone with an injury caused by another party, you're dealing with the stress of the injury as well as the injustice of the situation. It's important for you to obtain compensation, but it's also important to know how to handle your injury.

Back injuries often result in chronic pain, and it's okay for you to feel unhappy about that. Emotionally, many people become anxious or depressed over chronic back pain, but you can overcome it.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain lasts for 12 weeks or longer, by definition. It may begin after an initial injury and continue due to inflammation or other underlying causes. For instance, if you have a lower spinal injury, it may inflame when you move in a certain way or only flare during certain times of the year.

While most lower-back pain is acute but lasts for only a few days or weeks, it's not uncommon to hear about patients with persistent lower back issues. Depending on the cause, some patients may need surgery or long-term pain management techniques to live with their injuries.

How is lower back pain and chronic pain diagnosed?

You'll likely have a magnetic resonance imaging test, discography, X-ray or computerized tomography scan performed. These tests are normally used to identify damage to the discs, bones, vertebrae or even the nerves themselves. With these tests, it's possible to identify the cause of pain, which is the first step to resolving it.

What is the appropriate treatment for chronic pain?

It depends on the patient. The goal of any medical provider is to find a cure, but for some, it may not be possible. Long-term pain management is used for those who can't be treated with other means. Surgery may take pressure off nerves in some instances, while physical therapy may resolve pain in others.

The right treatment matters for people with long-term or chronic pain. Know your limits, and seek help if you're in pain.

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