When will my pain go away?
Unfortunately, if the pain has been present for over three months it is likely to last for months or even years. While it is important to perform appropriate investigations to rule out dangerous causes of pain, Xrays, MRI’s and Ultrasound abnormalities can not be used to predict how long the pain will last.
There are some positive and negative indicators as to how long the pain will last, but they are just rough approximations and every patient is different. Having said that if the patient finds that the pain becomes less severe every month and function improves with treatment then prognosis for pain resolution is better. Also, if pain is limited to a single joint then chances of pain resolution are higher.
Because there is no way to predict if and when the pain will be gone, I encourage my patients to focus on short term functional goals rather than worry what will happen in the long term. I also encourage patients to find a way to be productive members in the society by finding less physically demanding jobs or retraining for a new career if the patient is still unable to return to work within 1-2 years. Financial stress can impact the whole family and family stress can have a negative impact on one’s motivation and ability to handle pain.