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Diagnostic Tests for Chronic pain

Diagnostic tests for Chronic pain:

A thorough evaluation of chronic pain includes a full history and physical, including a mental health assessment and a neurologic exam, which tests the functioning of the nerves. Your health care professional may also ask you to keep a pain log or diary and record such details as the length of pain, where it occurs, when it occurs, the intensity of the pain, and what factors seem to bring it on, make it worse, and relieve it.

Medical testing may also include a wide variety of tests, depending on an individual's case, to find the source(s) or causes(s) of pain. Test can include blood tests and radiological imaging, such as X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, and/or MRI. An electromyogram (EMG) may be ordered to help determine if pain is coming from the nerves or the muscles. Nerve blocks, in which an anesthetic is injected into a nerve, may also be used to determine if a particular nerve is the source of chronic pain.

Chronic pain: Diagnostic Tests

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Chronic pain includes:

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Chronic pain:

Tests and diagnosis discussion for Chronic pain:

There is no way to tell how much pain a person has. No test can measure the intensity of pain, no imaging device can show pain, and no instrument can locate pain precisely. Sometimes, as in the case of headaches, physicians find that the best aid to diagnosis is the patient's own description of the type, duration, and location of pain. Defining pain as sharp or dull, constant or intermittent, burning or aching may give the best clues to the cause of pain. These descriptions are part of what is called the pain history, taken by the physician during the preliminary examination of a patient with pain.

Physicians, however, do have a number of technologies they use to find the cause of pain. Primarily these include:

  • Electrodiagnostic procedures include electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies, and evoked potential (EP) studies. Information from EMG can help physicians tell precisely which muscles or nerves are affected by weakness or pain. Thin needles are inserted in muscles and a physician can see or listen to electrical signals displayed on an EMG machine. With nerve conduction studies the doctor uses two sets of electrodes (similar to those used during an electrocardiogram) that are placed on the skin over the muscles. The first set gives the patient a mild shock that stimulates the nerve that runs to that muscle. The second set of electrodes is used to make a recording of the nerve's electrical signals, and from this information the doctor can determine if there is nerve damage. EP tests also involve two sets of electrodes-one set for stimulating a nerve (these electrodes are attached to a limb) and another set on the scalp for recording the speed of nerve signal transmission to the brain.
  • Imaging, especially magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, provides physicians with pictures of the body's structures and tissues. MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to differentiate between healthy and diseased tissue.
  • A neurological examination in which the physician tests movement, reflexes, sensation, balance, and coordination.
  • X-rays produce pictures of the body's structures, such as bones and joints.
(Source: excerpt from Pain -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

Diagnosis of Chronic pain: medical news summaries:

The following medical news items are relevant to diagnosis of Chronic pain:

 

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