by Nesreen Suwan, M.D.
Pain is considered the fifth vital sign along, with blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and respiration, according to the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
Physicians are meant to evaluate and control pain.
Migraine headaches and fibromyalgia are examples of debilitating chronic pain syndromes that have been compromising the quality of life of many sufferers.
Chronic pain management may be multifaceted and complicated since pain is often difficult to describe and track symptomatically. Chronic pain conditions may coexist in the same individual and they may be aggravated by one another.
Underlying medical conditions should always be looked for, although it is not unusual to find no cause for chronic pain conditions. Finding more than one cause is possible as well. As a result, a regular busy primary care setting is often not enough to get to the core of what is causing the pain or to determine if there are better treatment options.
Chronic use of narcotics and pain medications to manage chronic pain conditions would not be recommended in light of the potential side effects that include and are not limited to drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, itching, and sweating, added to tolerance and addiction.
Approximately thirty million Americans, primarily women, are affected by migraine headaches. Migraine headache is a common neurological disorder that is frequently misdiagnosed as sinus headache (headache attributed to sinusitis, or sinus inflammation).
Just like any other medical condition, if it is misdiagnosed, it will be mistreated.
Symptoms of migraine headaches are frequently treated with over-the-counter analgesics. The overuse of over-the-counter analgesics to treat migraines may actually result in more resistant rebound headaches and worsening of symptoms when future migraines occur.
If migraine is untreated or under-treated, it may cause changes in the nervous system that may lead to intractable chronic headaches. Migraines may be associated with other chronic pain and syndromes such as fibromyalgia, chronic neck pain, chronic back pain, and chronic irritable bowel syndrome.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic widespread pain syndrome that affects millions of Americans.
If a migraine or fibromyalgia diagnosis is established, there are multiple treatment options available in specialty clinics that can help you bring the circle of chronic pain and suffering to an end.
Even if you have been seen or treated for headaches or fibromyalgia in the past, it would be well worth your time to find out whether new treatment options are available, or whether your current treatment is right for you. You deserve a better quality of life. Conquer your chronic pain and suffering and recapture your life.
Dr. Nesreen Suwan is a board-certified neurologist who specializes in the treatment of headaches, migraine, and fibromyalgia. Dr Suwan is board certified in pain medicine with extra certification in headache medicine and she operates Advanced Chicago Headache and Fibromyalgia Clinic, which is affiliated with Adventist Hinsdale Hospital Pain Center of Excellence. She is highly recognized for her knowledge in headache and fibromyalgia. She is also nationally known as a speaker in this specialty.
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As Featured In Glancer Magazine, July 2013