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Ultram (Tramadol Hydrochloride)

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CHRONIC BACK PAIN

Chronic back pain is a pain that continues for a period of weeks or months with no relief. Fewer people suffer with chronic pain than with acute pain. Those who experience chronic back pain are in constant pain that is often severe. The pain might be less sharp than is acute back pain, but it becomes regular and nagging, and can be extremely limiting.
If you have chronic back pain, working may be difficult or impossible for you, even in jobs that do not require physical labor. Ordinary activities-driving a car, sitting, standing, and walking-may be accomplished in great discomfort, if they can be done at all. The pain is often much more bothersome at night and can cause you to lose sleep. One patient told us that she had not slept for days because the pain seemed to increase every night.
Chronic back pain can be a deep, aching, dull or burning pain. You might feel it in only one area, such as the lower (or middle or upper) back, or it may travel down one or both legs.
You may experience numbness, tingling, burning, or a “pins-and-needles” feeling in the legs. Ralph, a retired commercial fisherman, came to see us after having untreated back pain for over a year. Along with his severe pain, he felt a constant numbness in his right leg every day. Afraid that this numbness was a sign of a far more serious disease, Ralph be-] came depressed and lethargic. He limited all activity in an effort to find a solution for his pain. Finally, when he could take the pain no more, he came to us for help in finding the cause of his pain. He is now well on the road to recovery and relief; he is now managing his pain.
When people with chronic back pain walk or stand for more than a few minutes, the pain usually worsens. Sitting may also increase the pain. Because many of their usual daily activities may be curtailed by pain, some people become virtual invalids. The pain can become a 24-hour presence with no break or interruption.
“I got to the point where I didn’t want to wake up anymore, because I knew I had to face up to my pain,” Miranda, a 29-year-old legal secretary said. “No matter what I did or how I slept, I had pain every morning, noon, and night.”
Chronic back pain usually has an effect on overall attitude and disposition. Loss of sleep and loss of activity along with constant pain can make anyone more irritable and difficult to be around. Sarah, a middle-aged woman and mother of three children, told of how her chronic back pain almost ended her 20-year marriage.
“Before I started treatment, I was so irritable that no one could stand to be around me,” she said during a visit. “My husband stayed at work late each evening, and the children would go to their rooms. I know I seemed cranky and mean, but I felt so awful-all the time. The pain began to control my life.”

*11/135/5*

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