Chronic pain syndrome, or CPS, is typically defined as pain that persists longer than six months. The condition is difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat since it is not well understood by the medical community.
However, symptoms may include:
- lingering pain after an illness or injury that has healed;
- shooting, burning, or aching sensations; and
- tightness, soreness, or stiffness of muscles and joints.
These symptoms are often hard to treat and may not respond to traditional medications or physical therapy. Patients may begin to feel depressed or fatigued from their inability to find relief.
CPS may stem from:
- injuries from an accident such as a fall, car accident, or head trauma;
- osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis;
- spine deformations such as scoliosis; and
- deterioration of the nervous system.
Treatment options are in development, but a physician may recommend the following:
- sympathetic nerve blocks that place an anesthetic next to the spine to block receptors;
- surgical sympathectomy, which destroys the nerves associated with the pain;
- drug pumps implanted beneath the skin to distribute medication directly into the spinal cord fluid; and
- spinal cord stimulation, which stimulates the nerves via electrodes placed on the skin.