Friday, January 28, 2011

Two Main Types of Chronic Pain

My patients suffer from long-term physical pain, mostly to their backs, necks, occipital head area, and knees. These chronic pain symptoms are usually caused by car or work accidents. These are the problems that have made up my rehab practice, for the past 25 years.

It helps patients to learn that their chronic pain often has two main patterns. One is a constant background pain. This is very difficult to endure, but usually over time it gets a little easier. (Most people don't believe this at first.)

The second type is much tougher. This pattern involves escalations of pain or flare-ups. These escalations can be triggered by increases in certain movements, general increases in activity, increases in stress, poor sleep, or sometimes a build-up of all of these causes.

 Flare-ups are usually temporary in nature. They can last a few hours, few days or even weeks. They don't feel this way, though. After an injury, your increased pain can be so powerful that you are convinced that it will never settle down. Often the high level of pain is frightening to you and your family.

Over time, people learn about their own flare-ups - how long they last, what might have triggered them, how best to cope during a flare-up, what medications are needed, and how to help your family not be so frightened.

In my book, Unbelievable Pain Control,  you will learn about all of the ways that pain can affect you, and how to best manage your pain and your life with pain.

For readers of this blog, I have made a signed copy available to you for only $10.00 (plus shipping). Please just send your request to me at

Thank you

Yours with Care


  1. Thank you for posting this, Michael. I have often agonized about these two types of pain. You provide clear, validating definitions. This is unfortunately so difficult for the general public, even close friends, to understand. But I have a concern about your comment that chronic background pain dies down after a while. My concern is that it is always there in the sense that our body is still "stuck" with a painful condition at the root of that background pain. To ignore this background pain, to will it to stop has lead to many, many incidents of exacerbation, false expectations, and painful disappointment in my sense of self-efficacy. Can you please comment on this aspect of background pain? It seems to be too often dismissed.
    Thank you.

  2. Sorry about my long delay in responding to you. One clue is that if you try to will pain away, it gets only stronger. When you go to war with pain, pain always wins.

    Good luck and thanks for your post.

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