oa South African Family Practice - Assessment of patients with chronic pain : review
Pain has always been the most common reason why patients seek medical attention. A World Health Organization survey of ± 26 000 primary care patients on five continents demonstrated a prevalence of persistent pain (lasting longer than three months) in 22% of participants, mostly associated with marked reduction in several indicators of well-being (e.g. interference with activities and psychological functioning).
Acute pain serves a protective purpose, mostly signals injury or disease and has obvious value for survival. It protects the individual from further injury and promotes healing after injury. Untreated acute pain may cause unnecessary suffering and increase morbidity. There is also increasing recognition that untreated acute pain may induce long-term changes in the peripheral and central nervous system, known as centralsensitisation.
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