The Mystery of Chronic Pain & Hope

It’s a flip of the coin whether you will be affected by chronic pain (if it hasn’t already affected you).   This video is worth 8 minutes of your time to listen –
one of the clearest, most concise (and short) descriptions of how the brain-body registers pain AND the HOPE of remedy.
The Mystery of Chronic Pain

Elliot Krane, M.D., Pediatric anesthesiologist, Director of Pain Management Services at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford

“We think of pain as a symptom, but there are cases where the nervous system develops feedback loops and pain becomes a terrifying disease in itself. Starting with the story of a girl whose sprained wrist turned into a nightmare, Elliot Krane talks about the complex mystery of chronic pain, and reviews the facts we’re just learning about how it works and how to treat it.” TED

Current Statistics on Chronic Pain

An estimated 50 million Americans:
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from persistent pain each year, according to the American Pain Foundation. Add two loved ones for every patient and the total number of people affected is at least 150 million Americans–50% of the population.
1 in 3 Americans:
1 in 3 Americans lose more than 20 hours of sleep each month due to pain, according to the American Alliance of Cancer Pain Initiatives (AACPI).
According to the National Headache Foundation, headaches are the most common type of pain. It is estimated that industry loses $50 billion per year due to absenteeism and medical expenses caused by headaches.
Pain is the second leading cause of medically related work absenteeism, resulting in more than 50 million lost workdays each year, according to the American Pain Society.
There are more than 100 forms of arthritis. Currently more than 33 million Americans have arthritis. Nearly 90% of all persons over age 40 show beginning signs of arthritis or rheumatism (Lawrence, R.C., Hochberg, MC, Kelsy J.L., Journal of Rheumatology 16, 427-441)
Women are less likely to receive treatment for pain than men
According to recent pain research by Hoffman and Tarzian ( “The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women In The Treatment of Pain” Law/ Med Ethics, 2001: 29:13-27), women are less likely to receive treatment for pain than men.
Some 52 million informal and family caregivers provide care to people aged 20+ who are ill or disabled, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Many caregivers consider pain to be an indication of the patient’s status.
Costs & Effects of Pain:
Pain costs an estimated $100 billion each year. Every day, 60% of men and women experience some pain (AACPI).
Of the community dwelling elderly, up to 50% can be expected to suffer from pain. Among institutionalized elderly 71% to 83% report at least one pain problem (L. Galieze, “Chronic Pain in Elderly People” Pain 1997 Mar., 70 (1): 3-14)
Social life:
Chronic pain not only causes physical discomfort, but also interferes with social relationships, family life and self-esteem. There is a high correlation between chronic pain and depression.

7 comments on “The Mystery of Chronic Pain & Hope

  1. Very, very interesting. Are they working on a method to “retrain” fibro pain? If so, I think you should volunteer as a subject.



  2. Have been experiencing what a 3rd neurologist diagnosed as an idiopathic “cough headache” (7-8 level pain spike after cough/sneeze that subsides quickly to a 2-3 level background ‘buzz’) for over a year. EENT, MRI scans with orbital sections and contrast, full blood panel, chiropractic, all have been unable to pin point or lessen the symptom. Indomethacin provided only short-term masking, and really don’t want to be on NSAIDS for the rest of my life… Next steps are to see a D.O. who claims to specialize in ‘Atlas’ treatment for this type of pain. If no effect am investigating non-traditional methods-holistic, accupuncture, nutrition/exercise (likely the least expensive!)or naturopathic advice. Wish the video’s good doctor already had the magic “fix” for what I have definitley come to regard as a disease, not a symptom. My glial cells would be joyous!


  3. I have chronic atypical facial pain — caused by, among other things, an impingement of nerves in my meck. Until Lyrica, I took heavy duty opiates (with all their side effects). While there are issues with Lyrica, the only side effect I have experienced is some weight gain. Cymbalta was prescribed as an antidepressant; it worked for a while (no mood elevation — just stabilization), but like most antidepressants, it stopped working. So far, fingers crossed, I haven’t had to increase my dosage of Lyrica. Can’t assess how Cymbalta worked with any fibro symptoms as I hadn’t yet even thought of myself as having fibro. Have yet to discuss mirapex with my pcp. She is usually open to trying something different.


    • Lorraine,
      I know another woman with atypical facial pain and it is excruciating. Her trigeminal (sp?) nerve is involved. My heart goes out to you. When I hear of anything – she tries EVERYTHING, mostly alternative medicine- I’ll definitely tell you. Nerve pain is the worst. Can they do a nerve block or is it too dangerous?
      with love,
      P.S. Hey! I thought you were taking a time out!?


  4. My daughter has Fibro….has been going to a chiro and has some relief but the info on is very interesting…hope he is right about finding new way to help those with chronic pain. I know her Dr.s were not too helpful. Earlene


    • Earlene,
      The two drugs that have been a miracle for me are Cymbalta and Mirapex. (It’s hard to get a doctor who isn’t up on the latest to Rx Mirapex because it’s a dopamine enhancer and off label for Fibro. there are studies that indicate a large percentage of fibro pts don’t have enough dopamine in the brain.)
      the other drug that has helped a lot of my clients is Lyrica.
      Has she tired any of them?


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