What causes severe chronic pain?

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Mouton, Karel

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What causes severe chronic pain?
« on: 11/07/2008 10:08:04 »
Mouton, Karel  asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi Doc;

I'm DESPERATE!!! When I heard you speak to someone regarding pain on the radio 4/7/2008, I knew I had to get in touch with you.

I hope sincerely that this e-mail does the trick. I was involved in a motor cycle accident in 1999. I sustained severe head injuries. I've recovered well but am stuck with a severe burning, painful sensation in my hands and fore-arms only. The last three fingers on my hands are affected most severely.

Initially I was prescribed Tegratol and the Neurosurgeon expected the pain to go away. Another Surgeon suggested a sympathectomy a few years later but a Neurologist in the same hospital advised us against such a procedure, claiming that the pain would return in a worse way.

I've been to just about any surgeon or neurologist for an answer on the pain but to no avail. I've also been for conducting testsť all over and they prove to be normal. I've had MRI Scans done of my neck and even had a myelogram done but no clues as to where it originates from. Certainly it looks like my spine is intact and that the pain is not originating from that area.

The only clue I've had up till now is that the drugs Effexor and Neurontin  / Eplepton control my pain. It does not take it away, it only controls the pain. My pain is also severely affected by cold weather. Long sleeve shirts, which only slightly rubs over those areas, irritates the sensation.

Water, especially warm water seems to sooth the pain in my hands when washing them. Exercise takes the pain away completely but the pain returns after half an hour. After waking up when taking a short nap the
pain is at its worst but I have no real problems when waking up in the

The pain depresses me and the two seems to be closely linked. When I'm in pain the depression seems to come on and when I'm depressed the pain is also bad.

I was assigned to see a doctor at the Donald Gordon Medical Center by the Road Accident Fund. The doctor's name is Dr. Finnagan. All that
she always advises me to do is to increase the levels of medicine I take. Is this necessary?

Surely in this day and age there must be some sort of a procedure that you can suggest. I'm really desperate and have tried all natural ways of homeopathy, reflexology, praying, people praying for me, magnets trying to believe that the pain is only situated in my head. At times I cannot see myself carrying there is no light in the tunnel.

Karel Mouton

What do you think?


Offline RD

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What causes severe chronic pain?
« Reply #1 on: 11/07/2008 17:48:19 »
The pain you have described has similarities with "Phantom pain" experienced by amputees.
Exploring therapies which are used for "Phantom pain" may be worth investigating.

Apparently you have tried several unconventional "therapies", but you have not mentioned hypnosis.
« Last Edit: 11/07/2008 19:52:03 by RD »