Help Us Manage Chronic Pain

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We need to learn how to manage pain so that we may be able, in time, to find solutions to eliminate it completely. Complex neuro-physiological mechanisms are at the basis of spinal pain memorisation. Pain memorisation is not only influenced by the intensity of the perceived stimulus but also by the consequences arising from it.
It appears that pain memory on its own may act as a pain stimulus and define the pain experience even in the absence of pain stimuli. Pain memorisation brings about: reduction of the pain threshold, increased neural response, presence of hyperalgesia and persistent pain. Moreover some types of pain may become chronic.

  • Chronic pain affects 1 in 5 adults in Europe
  • On average a person can live with chronic pain for at least 7 years
  • In spite of treatment 68% of patients still endure pain for at least 12 hours a day

Untreated pain brings about further pain in subsequent episodes even if they are adequately controlled. Untreated pain means that pain perceived in previous experiences is remembered as more severe.


Chronic Pain Syndrome is a disease which modifies the structure of the nervous and immuno- endocrine systems, and is characterised by functional limitation secondary to the pain pathology.
In turn chronic pain becomes a disability in itself and develops into a disease to be approached in a multi-disciplinary way.
Administration of drugs to patients suffering pain disorders should not only be aimed at alleviating pain but should seek to reach various objectives like complete healing and prevention.
It should be recalled that pain is strongly linked to the emotional state and other non-physical factors specific to the suffering person.


Pain is characterised by a limbic component which gives pain an emotional dimension. The intensity of perceived pain depends on the environment; the same pain stimulus may generate, in identical conditions, different and unpredictable reactions in different persons.


Chronic pain is associated with a considerable economic cost. More than half of chronic pain patients may suffer partial or totally disablement for days or months.It is estimated that chronic pain accounts for 500 million lost working days every year in Europe. This costs European economy more than 34 billion euro (source ‘Pain in Europe’, 2006).

Pain Classification

Nociceptive pain: caused by actual or potential tissue damage which triggers stimulation of sensory neurons.
Neuropathic pain: caused by nerve lesion or chronic nerve alterations, rather than nerve stimulation.
Idiopathic or psychogenic pain: this cannot be attributed to physical damage. It is determined by subjective psychological factors.