What is Chronic Pain? Dr. Jennifer Stevens

Pain

Chronic pain is generally more unhelpful pain, so it’s pain that’s been around for longer than three months, and it can be much more difficult to treat, and it’s also much more complex to understand. 

So if you can imagine like a pinball machine where the initial pain is like the ball that you send off into the pinball machine and that little ball has activated all these different parts of your brain, so it turns on the area that might make you want to stay at home instead of going out and seeing your friends. It turns on the area that can make you feel quite anxious or depressed about what’s happened to you. It can make you feel like you don’t want to move. It can make you feel as though if you do go out and do something, that you’re going to make this pain worse. So it’s the kind of pain that starts to seep into other parts of your brain, activate lots of these different parts that we normally don’t associate with pain, and it gets into lots of different parts of your life. 

So it’s a very different sort of pain to try and deal with and much more difficult to understand and to get through.

Dr Jennifer Stevens is a Pain Specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney and Pain Australia

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