• Tue. May 3rd, 2022

Chronic Pain and its symptoms, causes, risk factors, and complication

Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can last for months or years and occur in all parts of the body. It interferes with daily life and can lead to depression and anxiety. The first step in treatment is to find the cause and provide treatment. When it is not possible, it is a combination of medications, treatments, and lifestyle changes.

Where do people have chronic pain?

Chronic pain can come in many different forms and occur across your body. Common types of chronic pain include:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Arthritis, or joint pain
  • Cancer pain near a tumor
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Testicular pain (orchialgia)
  • Lasting pain in scar tissue
  • Throughout muscle pain (such as fibromyalgia)
  • Neurogenic pain is caused by damage to nerves or other parts of the nervous system

How common is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is a very common condition and one of the most common reasons for a person to seek medical help. About 25% of adults in the United States experience chronic pain.

What causes chronic pain?

Sometimes chronic pain has an obvious cause. You may have a chronic illness such as arthritis or cancer, which can cause constant pain.

Injuries and diseases can cause changes in your body that make you more sensitive to pain. These changes will remain the same even after you have recovered from the original injury or disease. Something like a sprain, fracture, or brief infection can cause you chronic pain.

Some people also have chronic pain that is not related to injury or physical illness. Health providers call this response psychogenic pain or psychosomatic pain. It is caused by psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Many scientists believe that this link comes from low levels of endorphins in the blood. Endorphins are natural chemicals that stimulate positive emotions.

There can be many causes of pain. You may have two different diseases, for example. Or you may have a migraine and psychogenic pain together.

How is chronic pain diagnosed?

If the pain lasts for more than three months or comes (again and again) the pain is considered chronic. Pain is usually a symptom, so your health care provider should determine the cause of your pain if possible. Pain is subjective and can only be identified and described by the person experiencing it. So it can be difficult for providers to figure out the cause.

If you have long-lasting pain, see your healthcare provider. Your provider will want to know:

  • How often does it occur?
  • Where your pain is.
  • How intense it is, on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • How much it’s affecting your life and work.
  • What makes it worse or better.
  • Whether you have a lot of stress or anxiety in your life.
  • Whether you’ve had any illnesses or surgeries.

What tests are used to diagnose chronic pain?

Your healthcare provider can physically examine your body and order tests to find the cause of the pain. They may subject you to the following tests:

  • Urine tests.
  • Blood tests.
  • Electromyography to test muscle activity.
  • Imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI
  • Nerve conduction tests to see if your nerves are functioning properly.
  • Reflex and balance tests.
  • Spinal fluid tests.

How is chronic pain treated?

To alleviate chronic pain, health care providers first try to diagnose the cause and treat it. But sometimes they can not find the source. If so, they return to treat or manage the pain.

Health care providers treat chronic pain in a variety of ways. Attitude depends on some factors, including:

  • The cause of your pain, if known
  • The type of pain you have
  • Your age and overall health

The best treatment plans use a variety of strategies, including medications, lifestyle changes, and treatments.

If you have chronic pain and depression and or anxiety, it is important to seek treatment for your mental condition (s). Being depressed or anxious can make your chronic pain worse. For example, if you have depression, fatigue, changes in sleep and reduced activity can make your chronic pain worse.

What are the risk factors for chronic pain?

Since many conditions or injuries can cause chronic pain, there are some risk factors for experiencing it. Some risk factors include:

  • Your genetics: Some chronic pain causes, such as migraines, run in the family (genetic).
  • Having obesity: Being overweight in your joints can make certain health conditions worse, such as arthritis.
  • Your age: Older people are more likely to experience chronic pain due to arthritis and neurological disease.
  • Having a previous injury: If you have a traumatic injury, you are more likely to develop chronic pain in the future.
  • Having a labor-intensive job: If you have a physically strenuous job, you are at higher risk for developing chronic pain
  • Experiencing stress: Studies show that chronic pain is often associated with both depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Smoking: If you smoke, you are at high risk for developing medical conditions that may lead to the need for chronic pain treatment.

What are the complications of chronic pain?

Complications of chronic pain can include:

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Decreased quality of life.
  • Substance abuse disorders.
  • Worsening of existing chronic disease.
  • Suicidal ideation and or increased risk of suicide.

The complications of chronic pain are serious. Because of this, if you experience chronic pain, it is important to seek medical awareness. There are many options for pain treatment and management. Although it may take some time to find the right combination of treatments for you, it is still worth doing.