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Published on: Chronic Pain

What is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Our bodies’ experience of pain is a fact of life, as horrible as it may feel. Our bodies speak this language when something is wrong and needs to be expressed. Pain is the first indication that something is wrong or you’re injured.

Naturally, this pain disappears as the injury heals or as the body returns to health. However, in some cases, pain could span for months and sometimes years. This situation is often referred to as chronic pain syndrome. 

What is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Pain that lasts for three to six months is considered chronic. It is an intense pain that frequently occurs after an injury, such as a severe bone fracture or a cut on the skin. In the case of chronic pain syndrome, the pain persists long after the body has recovered from the injury.

This is a common condition amongst Americans, with about 25% of adults experiencing chronic pain. In some cases, the cause of the pain could be identified, and in others, this might not be possible. One thing is for sure: continuous pain can affect a person emotionally and impair daily life.

Causes of Chronic Pain Syndrome

Sometimes, the cause of chronic pain syndrome is not known. These cases cannot be tied to an illness or physical injury. Healthcare providers speculate this might be linked to events such as stress or conditions that affect the endorphin level in the body.

In many cases, it could be pointed to an injury or a previous painful condition such as:

  • Migraine and headaches
  • Stroke
  • Accidents
  • Lower back pain
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Arthritis, osteoarthritis and joint problems
  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • Cancer
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone fractures
  • Endometriosis: a case when tissues that ought to grow within the uterus grows outside of it.
  • Fibromyalgia: when there is a pain in the muscles throughout the body
  • Pelvic pain
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Radiculopathy
  • Surgical trauma
  • Acid reflux or ulcers
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases: a condition where there is inflammation of the digestive tract causing cramping and intestinal pain
  • Repetitive stress injuries: when a particular body part is placed under the same strain or movement repetitively

People who have suffered long-term illnesses such as these can have chronic pain for a long while. Similarly, accidents and injuries can affect the body in different ways, such as lasting pains even after the injuries or diseases have been healed. 

Symptoms

Symptoms of chronic pain syndrome can be seen across different aspects of life such as physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Common symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pains
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia and sleep difficulty
  • Mood swings
  • Drug abuse
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts

Risk factors of chronic pain syndrome

Certain risk factors make people more prone to chronic pain. These conditions include: 

Depression

Depression can trigger pain. Depression changes the way messages are sent to the brain and how they are interpreted. This response is sent to the nervous system, which then interprets it as pain. Health experts identify it as a psychogenic or psychosomatic pain. These conditions are caused by psychological factors.

Smoking

Smoking increases a person’s risk of developing a number of illnesses, including fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other chronic pain diseases. 

Obesity

While there is still research on this, obesity predisposes people to several health conditions and can affect the rate of recovery. It is not uncommon that many people who complain about chronic pain have obesity issues.

Age

With an increase in age, there is a higher tendency to be prone to health conditions. Thus many people who complain about chronic pain are usually above the age of 65.

Conclusion

Pain that lasts a long time, typically longer than three months, is referred to as chronic pain syndrome. Whenever you are ill, suffer an accident, or have chronic discomfort, know that treatment is possible. We can help you find relief. Contact us today to get started!

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