What is Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists for a long period of time. In most cases, it’s defined as pain that lasts 12 weeks or longer. Any pain lasting less time is considered acute pain. Some definitions consider pain chronic if it doesn’t respond to medication or treatment. It’s also important to realize that chronic pain can come and go. It doesn’t need to be persistent to be considered chronic.
Chronic pain can be as simple as a slightly bothersome ache that you can do life with, but you’re aware it’s there. It can also be something incredibly debilitating that prevents you from working, from doing the things you want to do, and from living the life you want. Chronic pain can come from any number of injuries, illnesses, defects, psychological states, and chronic pain can even be caused by treatments for other conditions.
One thing to be wary of when you’re suffering from chronic pain is something called the terrible triad. No matter what causes your chronic pain, you can suffer depression because your pain limits your life in some way. Chronic pain is the first element in the triad, depression is the second, and the third is insomnia, which can result as a symptom of the pain you’re suffering or be associated with stress due to depression.
What Causes Chronic Pain
As mentioned, the causes of chronic pain are as varied and different as the individuals who suffer with it. In our Downtown Pain Physicians offices, we see a lot of chronic neck pain and chronic low back pain. Not surprisingly, as these are two of the biggest pain complaints across the globe. Obviously, your causes may be different but some common chronic pain causes include:
- Poor posture
- Injuries and/or accidents
- Excessive weight
- Congenital or birth-related issues
- Bad sleeping conditions
- Cancer and cancer treatments
This list of chronic pain causes barely touches on some of the underlying concerns, but it gives you a good idea of how vast they can be and how you can have several different causes at the same time working against you.
Chronic Neck Pain
Neck pain or pain in the cervical spine is so common that it’s been estimated that 30-50% of all adults will experience a bout of neck pain in any year. It’s a pretty sure bet that every person will experience some neck pain in their life. For some, that pain doesn’t completely resolve in a few days or weeks, and it moves into the chronic realm. There are actually three stages of neck pain:
- Acute. This is neck pain that only lasts four weeks or less.
- Subacute. Neck pain lasting longer than four weeks, but less than 12.
- Chronic. Pain that lasts more than 12 weeks, like most pains, then moves into the chronic stage.
Chronic neck pain can come on slowly over the course of years, or it can be sudden. The symptoms of chronic neck pain can be sharp and debilitating, or they can be a numbness that’s noticeable but not considered a big deal by the individual.
Chronic Low Back Pain
Statistics suggest that 80% of all adults will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, low back pain being the most prevalent. Obviously, not all of these people will develop chronic back pain, but a significant portion of them will.
The most common courses of low back pain are mechanical and soft tissue injuries, but that’s not to say these are the only causes of chronic low back pain. The following are often associated with chronic low back pain:
- Lumbar herniated disc(s)
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet joint dysfunction
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Spinal stenosis
- Compression fracture
- Autoimmune diseases
- Spinal infection/osteomyelitis
Having one or more of these causes doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll develop chronic low back pain. Your back pain may resolve in less than three months, but there is a good chance it will linger without proper diagnosis, care, and treatment.
Diagnosing Chronic Pain
Diagnosing chronic pain is relatively easy because the patient can report where their pain is and how long they’ve had it. The issue is then pinpointing the cause of the pain, which is the most important part of the diagnosis.
At Downtown Pain Physicians, we never lump our patients into pain categories and then begin a treatment plan that only treats the pain. While we are the best in the business when it comes to giving you pain relief, we know that a true treatment plan comes from knowing the specific cause of the pain and working to find a remedy for that. If an autoimmune disorder or cancer causes your chronic pain, we can help with the pain. Still, you will obviously want to treat your autoimmune disorder and/or cancer to receive the biggest benefit.
When you visit one of our pain treatment specialists at Downtown Pain Physicians in New York City, you can expect a thorough examination that will uncover the root of your pain. We are well-equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to get to the diagnosis faster and with a greater degree of accuracy. Some diagnostics you can expect include:
- Oral history. We will listen carefully as you explain your chronic pain symptoms and how they came about. We must understand any changes you’ve experienced in your pain and any other concerns you might be having.
- Physical Exam. Your doctor will then examine you to determine if there are any obvious physical signs of injury, swelling, disease, etc.
- MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scan uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of your body tissues. It gives us a better look at what’s happening inside the body.
- Same-Day EMG. An EMG is electromyography that measures your muscle response or electrical activity. We can conduct this test in our facility, so you don’t need to go off-site or suffer through long waits until you get the results you need for an appropriate diagnosis. This is why having state-of-the-art diagnostics is so important to our patients.
Once your doctor has all of the information available, they can make an appropriate diagnosis and begin treating your chronic neck or low back pain, or they can address any other diagnoses you may have.
Treatment for Chronic Low Back and Neck Pains
While your individual treatment for the underlying cause of your pain will be customized and unique, we strongly believe that treating your pain as soon as possible is a big step on your road to healing. It’s our specialty and that’s why we’re the best in the business. Some treatment options for chronic neck pain and chronic low back pain can include:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Prescription pain management medications
- Electrical stimulation
- Epidural steroid injections
- Injection therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or nerve blocks
Why Choose Downtown Pain Physicians for Your Chronic Pain
If you are suffering from pain that has lasted three months or more, it’s important to be seen by a doctor to determine what the cause is and help find the best solution to resolve your pain issues. Our doctors are dedicated to each patient and believe that individual care is the best way to achieve results. We listen carefully to your pain history and use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to make accurate diagnoses. If you’re looking for chronic pain relief in the New York City area, then it’s time to visit one of our two convenient locations. Our doctors are top-rated specialists in relieving pain and will do what is necessary to find the cause of your pain and help you find relief.
Meet Your Doctor – Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.
Top-Rated Interventional Pain and Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
Dr. Raj Raval is an Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist. As part of the best-rated team of pain management doctors in New York City, he uses the most effective pain management and pain control treatment options using the latest technologies available.
Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.
- Board certified
- Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
- Member of: AAPMR, Spine Intervention Society (SIS), North American Spine Society, American Society of Interventional Pain
Our Facilities Are State of the Art
Not only do we have the best doctors around, we believe we have one of the best facilities. Where you receive your care and the tools the doctor has at their disposal can mean a lot when it comes to a successful treatment plan for your chronic pain. We’re quite proud of our well-appointed and modern facility; it makes the experience more comfortable for our patients and supplies our doctors with the equipment they need.
Our pain facilities are in Brooklyn and Manhattan and conveniently located for residents in Downtown Brooklyn, Lower, Midtown and Upper East Side of Manhattan, the East Village, Greenwich Village, or Murphy-Hill.
Our quality of care is considered among the finest in the country, and with the technology and expertise to back it up, our patients find the relief they are seeking. Connect with one of our offices today to take the first step toward relieving your chronic pain symptoms.
What Our Patients Have to Say
We know we have the best doctors and facility around, and our patients agree.
June 30, 2021 – Kay R. Verified patient
Dr. Raval was wonderful! He really cares and listens and spent a lot of time with me even though I was his last patient. I highly recommend him!
August 16, 2021 – Maureen F. Verified patient
Such a kind, well informed doctor. I have been in and out of doctors/hospitals for 2.5 years. I finally feel seen and heard. I am looking forward to my next appointment.
June 27, 2021 – Dorothy S. Verified patient
Everyone I had contact with was most respectful of my time and kept me informed. Dr. Raval listened and communicated well, explained all I needed to know. As I was about to leave I had one more question, he came back to the examining room at my request and took the time to make sure he had answered my question.
June 15, 2021 – Melissa W. Verified patient
I would highly recommend Dr. Raval. He was patient, kind and knowledgeable. Made me at ease which is very important in my book. Office was professional and helpful. Cannot say a negative thing at all about my experience…
What to Expect at Downtown Pain Physicians
At your first visit to our office, you can expect a thorough health examination and history so your doctor can get a good idea of your health concerns. After a diagnosis is achieved, your doctor will have a thorough discussion of treatment options with you to make sure you know what steps are possible and you can make an informed decision. You’ll also receive a detailed recovery plan, so you never have to question what to do next.
We want your visit to our offices to be as pleasant as possible from the moment you walk through our doors. Individual attention is part of the fabric of our practice, and it’s a critical component of an effective treatment plan. Whether you’re suffering from chronic neck pain or chronic back pain, we are here to help you find pain relief and get back to living your life.
The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive treatment advice. It is essential to consult a best-in-class pain management specialist in New York regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your pain doctor to schedule a consultation.