What exactly is chronic pain?
Everyone experiences pain once in a while, whether it’s joint pain, head or stomach ache or an old injury flaring up, chances are with some medication and rest the pain will eventually subside. Chronic pain, however, is quite different.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is any pain that persists for more than three months.
Health24 says that many conditions or diseases, such as arthritis, back pain (not the result of recent surgery), and cancer can cause chronic pain. In some cases, the cause of the pain is unknown and needs to be investigated by a medical professional.
Many chronic pain sufferers also experience bouts of anxiety and depression, due to their condition. Some people are forced to take more and more pain killers to manage their pain, sometimes resulting in prescription drug addiction.
One such sufferer, Lisa, told The Mighty: “Just because I’m young and look younger than I am, doesn’t mean I can’t experience the pain and fatigue I have. I’m in my 30s and often feel 80. I know people who are 70 or 80 who get around better than I do. Even if it seems like I am not in pain or exhausted, I am. If you pay enough attention, you’ll see the signs, but they are hard to notice on a ‘good’ day. That’s because I am used to living in constant pain. Your eight on a pain scale would be more like a two or three for me. Now try to imagine what my eight to 10 pain level would be.”
Chronic pain can be mild, moderate or severe.
Approximately 25% of people with chronic pain will go on to have a condition called chronic pain syndrome (CPS). This is when the pain starts to largely and negatively affect the sufferer’s quality of life to the point of being debilitating.
What Causes Chronic Pain Syndrome?
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes CPS. Web MD explains that it is usually triggered by an injury or painful condition such as arthritis and other joint problems, back pain, headaches and muscle strains and sprains, among others. The pain may be caused by inflammation or dysfunctional nerves.
Without being able to find a direct cause of your pain — or if they think the pain is disproportionate to the trigger — some doctors will dismiss your symptoms or tell you they are “all in your head.” Talk to your doctor about what you think is causing your pain and ask for the appropriate tests and treatments. Working as a team is your best shot at finding relief, explains Healthline.