Chronic pain is an emotional experience and is defined as pain lasting greater than six months. It is important to understand the neurophysiology of pain in order to treat it. Nociceptors in the periphery travel to the substantia gelatinosa of the spinal cord while secondary and tertiary afferents transmit information from the dorsal horn to the brain. Modification of pain information may take place in these ascending pathways or in descending pathways. Treatment of chronic pain is most successful when it is approached in a multidisciplinary fashion with the focus not only on treatment of underlying etiology, but also on the secondary impacts of pain on the patient's life. The management of chronic pain requires special expertise. Most of the experts in chronic pain assessment and management organize themselves into pain treatment centers. These centers vary widely in their approach to the problem. The most sophisticated is a multidisciplinary center that is university-based and includes teaching and research. Treatment of chronic pain includes a variety of medications, psychological support, and rehabilitation. Multidisciplinary pain management is also an integral part of the palliative care and hospice concept used to treat cancer pain.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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