Persistent Pain as a Disease Entity
Persistent pain is a major health problem, with between 18% and 50% of the population reporting continuous pain for at least 3 of the last 6 months. Chronic pain has been linked with significant disability. Although pain has been traditionally regarded as a symptom that serves as a warning signal of an underlying disease process, there is accumulating evidence that persistent pain should be considered a disease entity in its own right. Indeed, permanent changes in the responsiveness of both the peripheral and centralnervous systems can persist even after all tissue healing has ensued; thus, persistent pain can become a self-perpetuating condition. The individual is signs of original inciting disease process that initiated the pain. This results in a multitude of consequences that can lead to significant impairment for the individual affected, including physical impairment, mood dysfunction, and social disruption. This is in keeping with the earlier biopsychosocial perspective of CPS.