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 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 30 million Americans, primarily women, are affected by migraine headaches - usually at the peak of their most productive years. Migraines can be very debilitating causing lost workdays and inability to perform even very basic chores. How can a migraineur even think about juggling a career, home and family when she is debilitated with the migraine?
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. Not only do ineffectual cures cause the patient to suffer unnecessarily, when the migraines are untreated, or under-treated, they can actually cause the nervous system to become more sensitive, rendering more frequent, more severe and harder to treat migraine headaches.
Migraine is a neurological disorder that involves changes in the brain and its vessels. It is a chronic pain condition that is caused by a sensitized nervous system. If untreated or under-treated, it may cause changes in the nervous system that may lead to intractable chronic headaches and other chronic pain 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. It is associated with chronic headaches as well.
Some experts believe that migraine headaches and fibromyalgia may even share common defects in the systems that regulate certain chemical transmitters in the nervous system.
If migraine or fibromyalgia diagnosis is established, there are multiple treatment options available in specialty clinics that can help you bring the vicious 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 that 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.
Chronic Pain Matters
As Featured In Glancer Magazine, May 2010