Pain of Unknown Etiology (Pain Without a Known Cause)

You have come to your caregiver because of pain. Pain can occur in any part of the body. Often there is not a definite cause. If your laboratory (blood or urine) work was normal and x-rays or other studies were normal, your caregiver may treat you without knowing the cause of the pain. An example of this is the headache. Most headaches are diagnosed by taking a history. This means your caregiver asks you questions about your headaches. Your caregiver determines a treatment based on your answers. Usually testing done for headaches is normal. Often testing is not done unless there is no response to medications. Regardless of where your pain is located today, you can be given medications to make you comfortable. If no physical cause of pain can be found, most cases of pain will gradually leave as suddenly as they came.

If you have a painful condition and no reason can be found for the pain, It is importantthat you follow up with your caregiver. If the pain becomes worse or does not go away, it may be necessary to repeat tests and look further for a possible cause.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • For the protection of your privacy, test results can not be given over the phone. Make sure you receive the results of your test. Ask as to how these results are to be obtained if you have not been informed. It is your responsibility to obtain your test results.

  • You may continue all activities unless the activities cause more pain. When the pain lessens, it is important to gradually resume normal activities. Resume activities by beginning slowly and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of the activities or exercise. During periods of severe pain, bed-rest may be helpful. Lay or sit in any position that is comfortable.

  • Ice used for acute (sudden) conditions may be effective. Use a large plastic bag filled with ice and wrapped in a towel. This may provide pain relief.

  • See your caregiver for continued problems. They can help or refer you for exercises or physical therapy if necessary.

If you were given medications for your condition, do not drive, operate machinery or power tools, or sign legal documents for 24 hours. Do not drink alcohol, take sleeping pills, or take other medications that may interfere with treatment.

See your caregiver immediately if you have pain that is becoming worse and not relieved by medications.