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Treatments for chronic pain are elusive

New Jersey readers may be surprised to learn that one in three Americans -- perhaps as many as 100 million Americans -- might battle chronic pain in their daily lives. Although back pain is the most common example of chronic pain, others might experience persistent headaches or joint stiffness.

Western diagnostic tools, such as MRIs, CT scans or X-rays may not be able to quantify or explain why individuals experience chronic pain. Some may regard it as a dysfunction in the nervous system. Others -- particularly body therapists -- believe that movement is good medicine, as it may hydrate the body's connective tissue. When dehydrated, those tissues might be responsible for sending signals to the brain that are interpreted as pain. Still others believe that vitamin D deficiency may play a role.

Since the exact cause of chronic pain is not fully understood, doctors may advise individuals who suffer from this condition to experiment with a variety of therapies. Often, a patient must try several before finding success. Others may not benefit from any conventional treatment, and may despair of finding a treatment. Their pain may not prevent them from working on many days, yet it may still significantly limit their functionality.

Although the Social Security Administration recognizes connective tissue disorders, such conditions may not automatically qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Rather, SSDI eligibility requires a showing that a worker's condition is so severe that it makes working impossible. In the case of chronic pain, an attorney will know the type of evidence required to submit a successful claim.

Source: Fox News, "Expert: Natural way to end chronic pain," Blair Shiff, Feb. 20, 2013

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