Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

RSD(S)-CRPS Advisory
Chronic Pain: How to Get Relief
Chronic Pain: How to Get Relief

What is chronic pain?
There are 2 types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain doesn't last long and usually
goes away as your body heals. Chronic pain lasts at least 6 months after your body has
healed. Sometimes, when people have chronic pain they don't know what is causing it.
Along with discomfort, chronic pain can cause low self-esteem, depression and anger,
and it can interfere with your daily activities

How is chronic pain treated?
Treatment of chronic pain usually involves medicines and therapy. Medicines used for
chronic pain include pain relievers, antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Different types
of medicines help people with different types of pain. You usually use long-acting
medicines for constant pain. Short-acting medicines treat pain that comes and goes.

Several types of therapy can help ease your pain. Physical therapy (such as
stretching and strengthening activities) and low-impact exercise (such as walking,
swimming or biking) can help reduce the pain. However, exercising too much or not at
all can hurt chronic pain patients. Occupational therapy teaches you how to pace yourself
and how to do ordinary tasks differently so you won't hurt yourself. Behavioral therapy
can reduce your pain through methods (such as meditation and yoga) that help you relax.
It can also help decrease stress.

Lifestyle changes are also an important part of treatment for chronic pain. Getting
regular sleep at night and not taking daytime naps should help. Stopping smoking helps,
too, because the nicotine in cigarettes can make some medicines less effective. Smokers
also have more pain than nonsmokers.

Most pain treatments will not take away all of your pain. Instead, treatment should
reduce how much pain you have and how often it occurs. Talk to your doctor to learn
how to best control your pain.

What should I tell my doctor about my pain?
Telling your doctor about your pain will help him or her find the right treatment for you.
Tell your doctor where the pain is, how bad it is and how often your pain occurs. Also
talk about what makes the pain better or worse.

Your doctor may review other health problems (such as arthritis, breathing problems and
heart conditions) you may have because these may keep you from doing some types of
therapy. Your doctor may also ask if you have had any problems with sleep, mood or

Other Organizations

American Council for Headache Education
19 Mantua Rd.
Mt. Royal, NJ 08061

American Pain Society

American Pain Foundation

American Chronic Pain Association

Written by editorial staff.

Treatment of Nonmalignant Chronic Pain by DA Marcus, M.D. (American Family
Physician March 1, 2000,

Reviewed/Updated: 05/07
Life can only be understood backwards,
-Soren Kierkegaard