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Causes of Chronic Pain

Causes of Chronic Pain

Everything you need to know about the causes of chronic pain

Everyone gets aches and pains now and then. In reality, acute pain is a crucial nervous system reaction that helps you detect potential injury. When you have an injury, pain impulses up to your spinal cord and into your brain.

As the damage heals, the pain will normally lessen. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is distinct from ordinary pain. Even after an injury heals, your body continues to send pain signals to your brain if you have chronic pain. This can last anywhere from a few weeks to years. Chronic pain can diminish your flexibility, strength, and endurance, as well as limit your mobility. This may make it difficult to do daily jobs and activities.

Chronic pain is discomfort that lasts for more than 12 weeks. The discomfort may be acute or subtle, and the affected areas may feel scorching or hurting. It could be constant or intermittent, appearing and disappearing for no apparent reason. Chronic pain can strike almost any portion of the body. The discomfort in different affected locations can feel different.

The following are some of the most frequent types of chronic pain:

  • Headache
  • Postsurgical pain
  • Post-trauma pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Neurogenic pain (pain caused by nerve damage)
  • Psychogenic pain (pain that isn’t caused by disease, injury, or nerve damage)

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), chronic pain affects between one-third and half of the UK population which is estimated at more than 28 million adults.

Causes of chronic pain

An initial injury, such as a back sprain or a strained muscle, is frequently the source of chronic pain. Chronic pain is thought to arise when nerves are injured. The nerve injury intensifies and prolongs the pain. Treating the underlying injury may not be enough to alleviate the chronic pain in many circumstances.

However, some people develop chronic pain without ever having been injured. The exact causes of persistent pain in the absence of damage are unknown. Pain can occasionally be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome: characterised by intense, long-term exhaustion, which is frequently accompanied by pain
  • Endometriosis: When the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus, it causes discomfort and pain.
  • Fibromyalgia: Extensive skeletal and muscular discomfort
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: A variety of diseases that produce chronic, painful inflammation in the digestive system
  • Interstitial cystitis: Bladder pressure and pain are symptoms of this chronic condition.
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ): A syndrome characterised by painful jaw clicking, popping, or locking
  • Vulvodynia: Chronic vulva pain that persists for no apparent reason

Treatment

Treatment focuses on reducing discomfort and increasing mobility. This allows you to resume your normal activities without pain.

Chronic pain can vary in severity and frequency depending on the person. As a result, doctors construct pain management programmes that are unique to each individual. Your pain management strategy will be determined by your symptoms as well as any underlying health issues. Chronic pain can be treated with medical therapies, lifestyle changes, or a mix of both.

Medications for chronic pain

There are several types of drugs that can be used to manage chronic pain. Consider the following examples:

  • Paracetamol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as aspirin (Bufferin) or ibuprofen are examples of over-the-counter pain remedies.
  • Morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone are examples of opioid pain medications.
  • Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are adjuvant analgesics

Medications procedures for chronic pain

Chronic pain can also be relieved by certain medical procedures. Here are a few examples:

  • Electrical stimulation works by putting mild electric shocks into your muscles to relieve pain.
  • A nerve block is an injection that stops nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain.
  • Acupuncture is a pain-relieving technique that includes delicately pricking your skin with needles.
  • Surgery to address injuries that may have healed incorrectly and are adding to the discomfort

Other Chronic pain treatment options

Various lifestyle therapies are also available to assist alleviate chronic pain. Here are several examples:

  • Alternative therapies
  • Physical therapy
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Art and music therapy
  • Pet therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Massage
  • Meditation

Coping with Chronic Pain

Although there is no cure for chronic pain, it can be effectively controlled. To assist relieve symptoms, it’s critical to keep to your pain management plan.

Chronic pain can increase your stress levels since physical pain is linked to emotional agony. Developing emotional skills can help you deal with any stress caused by your illness. Here are some strategies for reducing stress:

  • Take care of your body: Eating correctly, getting enough sleep, and exercising on a regular basis can help to keep your body healthy and reduce stress.
  • Continue participating in daily activities: Engaging in enjoyable hobbies and socialising with friends can help you feel better and reduce stress. Chronic discomfort might make it difficult to complete certain duties. Isolating oneself, on the other hand, can make you more depressed about your situation and make you more sensitive to pain.
  • Seek help: During stressful times, friends, family, and support groups can lend a hand and provide comfort. A close friend or loved one can provide the assistance you need, whether you’re experiencing problems with daily duties or simply need an emotional lift.

Risk Factors

Chronic pain affects people of all ages, but it is most prevalent in the elderly. Other factors that can increase your risk of chronic pain, other than age, include:

  • Suffering from an injury
  • Undergoing surgery
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being a woman
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