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What Wikipedia Tells Us About Chronic Pain

Wikipedia On Chronic Pain

If you’re like me, when you don’t know something about something, the first thing you do is open up Google and search… and you keep hunting until you find the answer you have been looking for. If it’s something you are really interested in, your search may go on for a while. If it’s a search to find an answer to a problem, well you probably won’t stop looking until you get a useful answer.

Luckily, the internet is pretty good at helping us find solutions, or at least point us in the right direction.

That’s why when I first started doing my own research into chronic pain, I was shocked at the sheer lack of information available.

Wikipedia is a resource that I will often use to get information; it’s also a nice starting point for full on investigation.

I can’t imagine how people suffering from chronic pain must feel when they pull up information from Wikipedia. (P.s. it’s not much better on the rest of the internet).

What does Wikipedia tell us?

(I’ve used the page “Chronic pain syndrome” from Wikipedia, partially due to its brevity and because it’s a little more straight forward. The “Chronic Pain” page is very similar).

‘Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS) is a common problem that is a major challenge to health-care providers because of its complex nature of pooretiology and poor response to therapy. Most consider ongoing pain of 3~6 months as diagnostic. A person may have two or more co-existing pain conditions or widespread generalized pain. This condition is managed best with a multidisciplinary approach.’

How common? Further down the page we find out under the Epidemiology section.

Approximately 35% of Americans have some element of chronic pain, and approximately 50 million Americans are disabled partially or totally due to chronic pain. Major effects on the patient’s life are depressed mood, fatigue, reduced activity, excessive use of drugs, dependent behaviour, disability, and in some cases suicidal thoughts/actions. Parental chronic pain increases the risk of internalizing symptoms, including anxiety and depression in adolescents.

Needless to say, the outlook is grim.

Lets focus on some of the other elements of the introduction paragraph of this page. Little is known about the causes of chronic pain (etiology). It is complex and most therapies have little benefit. The best you can hope for is that you never get it. But we live in the real world, so most of us will at some point get it. What then?

This condition is managed best with a multidisciplinary approach. Okay, and what are those approaches? Why and how do we choose them?

‘Although CPS has been known to resolve completely with (and very rarely without) treatment, it is uncommon for full relief to be achieved. Therefore, patients should be encouraged to develop realistic goals for their pain treatment. Medications, surgeries, and alternative medicine treatments can reduce pain although their effectiveness varies by the patient and some may provide no relief at all to certain individuals. Occasionally CPS may become increasingly more painful over time regardless of attempted treatments. The prognosis is best for patients who begin pain treatment within 6 months of the onset of symptoms, after which the chance of remission plateaus at a very low level.’

Realistic goals… medications, surgeries, and alternative medicine. Sometimes they work, most of the time they have little impact, or no impact, or possibly even make it worse!

My point is not to criticize any treatments, because if someone is in a position where they are stuck in chronic pain, the worst thing they could do is give up hope and stop looking for answers. Acceptance of the condition and the situation you find yourself in is very important, but so is the never-ending desire to search out answers. We are humans, it is our destiny to always improve regardless of how dark it looks.

So, lets pretend for a second that we were recently diagnosed with chronic pain; four months ago we were rear ended in our car, and were completely unscathed except for some bad whiplash. Followed by pain that wouldn’t go away.

We’re on the internet looking for answers and we stumble upon this page. What can we conclude –

  • Nobody has a clue about what’s going on with chronic pain.
  • Treatments might help (or not) or potentially make it worse.
  • The impact of chronic pain if you don’t get better is absolutely devastating for you and your family.

    Personally, I think we can do much better.

    If I didn’t have a clue of what to do about it (like most major problems facing humanity), I guess I would just have to just accept it and move on.

    However, there are answers, and we want to share them with you. Those answers aren’t found on that Wikipedia page, but hopefully one day they will be. It would be nice to re-write that page one day.

    But first, I want to bring answers to you, so that you can gain a new understanding of chronic pain, and see how it can be effectively managed and treated.

    It is true that a multidisciplinary approach is required. And results won’t come overnight. But by doing the right things, and stopping the wrong things, the chances of getting your life back are drastically improved.

    This site is here as a tool for you, a resource where we will be compiling a complete picture of chronic pain so that we can find a way forward together.

    If you haven’t subscribed to Myolibria yet, I would encourage you to join us.

    What do you have to lose?