Chronic pain: Getting a grip on the condition

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Chronic pain: Getting a grip on the condition
Chronic pain: Getting a grip on the condition

Getting to grips with suffering

Many factors contribute to the persistence of pain over the long term. Drugs are usually of little help to those affected. New approaches such as brain stimulation are currently being tested, but successful therapy must also take psychological factors into account.

No other condition drives people to doctors' offices and emergency rooms as often as pain. Pricking in the ears, a throbbing skull, an inflamed joint - the pain can affect almost any part of the body. Acute illness is not always behind the symptoms. It is estimated that around one in four adults suffers from chronic pain. Like Lars, who was diagnosed with the pain syndrome fibromyalgia five years ago."The pain keeps changing for me. Sometimes it's stronger, sometimes weaker," he tells the portal "Often the whole body hurts with every movement. It feels something like severe muscle soreness. The pain is there every day." Despite years of searching, no organic causes for the pain can be found in him or in many other patients. However, that doesn't make them any less real than the discomfort you might feel after a fall or after an operation.

Stefani Adler, Head of the Department for Interdisciplinary Pain Therapy at the University Medical Center Greifswald, takes care of people struggling with chronic pain on a daily basis. Many come to the clinic because of back problems, but she also often treats people who have been injured in an accident, people with shingles, tumor diseases or persistent headaches. Those affected have sometimes been taking painkillers, so-called analgesics, for years. Insufficient therapy, because "their pain has become chronic; these people suffer from a pain disorder," explains Adler…

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