UC San Diego Health’s Center for Pain Medicine addresses the mental and physical aspects of pain, with the goal of helping people reduce or eliminate pain for prolonged periods. Because of the breadth and depth of UC San Diego Health’s medical expertise,
we are able to treat all types of pain, including:
- All kinds of spinal and lower back pain
- All other kinds of joint and musculoskeletal pain
- Chronic pain, including complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Abdominal and pelvic pain
- All forms of neuropathic pain
- Refractory cancer-related pain
Acute Versus Chronic Pain
Pain falls into two main categories: acute and chronic. Acute pain is typically associated with injury, disease or surgery and is caused by damage to tissue. Acute pain is usually short-lived and relatively easy to treat and recover from.
Did you know?
Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under the age of 45.
American Academy of Pain Medicine
Acute pain sometimes develops into chronic pain. Why this transition occurs in some people but not others is unknown but uncontrolled pain is believed to damage the nervous system. As a result, harmless sensations may be processed as painful. Pain also has an emotional component. Our brain may add emotional affect to sensations associated with nerve stimulation that can amplify the perception of pain.
The dual nature of pain as both a physical and emotional experience greatly complicates the medical profession’s ability to successfully eliminate pain in people with chronic pain. It is also known that the longer a person has had chronic pain, the more difficult it is to treat. Most of the patients we treat have chronic pain that has not responded to standard pain management approaches.