Chronic pain syndrome is a common problem that presents a major challenge to health-care providers because of its complex natural history, unclear etiology, and poor response to therapy.
Most authors consider it lasting longer than 6 months as diagnostic, others have used 3 months as the minimum criterion, and some suggest that any pain that persists longer than the reasonably expected healing time for the involved tissues should be considered chronic.
It is a constellation of syndromes that usually do not respond to the medical model of care; it is managed best with a multidisciplinary approach.
Chronic pain is reported more commonly in women. Its major effects in the patient's life are depressed mood, poor-quality or nonrestorative sleep, fatigue, reduced activity and libido, excessive use of drugs and alcohol, dependent behavior, and disability out of proportion with impairment.
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Adapted from Medscape Drugs & Diseases. Chronic pain syndrome. Available at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/310834-overview. Accessed February 15, 2016. To view the entire article and all other content on the Medscape Drugs & Diseases site, a free, one-time registration is required.