There are many treatments for chronic pain. Some are more effective than others, and some have much more evidence behind them than others. The problem is that what has been plastered through the media is often incorrect. Even peak bodies have published information based on junk science.
So here we provide information on the current recommended treatments and link to studies that support or dispute their effectiveness. Not every treatment that claims to be “evidence-based” stands up to scrutiny. Find out the facts, the evidence, the science.
It’s important to note that there are two main classifications of chronic pain – Chronic Primary Pain and Chronic Secondary Pain.
Chronic Primary Pain is chronic pain where no cause for the pain can be found through medical testing, including scans and blood tests. This kind of pain is termed ‘nociplastic pain‘ and it is caused by ‘central sensitisation”.
It’s important to note that just because a doctor can’t find a physical cause for pain, that does NOT mean there isn’t a physical cause. History is filled with examples of diseases or pain states that were considered to be all in the patient’s head, fake or imaginary, until medical technology and science caught up, and physical causes WERE later found. So take the ‘there is no cause for your pain’ label with a grain of salt. It means there may not be a physical cause, OR there may not be a test available (yet) to show the physical cause.
The other kind of chronic pain is Chronic Secondary Pain. This is where the chronic pain is a symptom of another disease. e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, etc. There are a great many diseases that cause chronic pain. In this case, the pain IS the result of ongoing tissue damage. It is far more akin to acute pain than chronic primary pain. It is essentially acute pain that happens every day.
Below is a list of treatments (as we get the time to review and write them up)
Pain Science Education
Education has long been an important part of the treatment of pain, but Pain Science Education differs in that it is education on how pain works in the brain, rather than education on the body part(s) where the pain is felt. There are several ‘brands’ of pain neuroscience education, and a lot of people have made a lot of money from the concept.
Explain Pain By David Butler and Lorimer Moseley is the most popular
Pain Neuroscience Education by Adriaan Louw