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Chronic pain

Chronic pain

Chronic pain is quite different to the type of pain you feel when you accidently cut your finger or pull a muscle. Pain is your body’s natural way of telling you something is wrong. Once the injury heals, you stop hurting. However, this is not how it works when it comes to chronic pain. When you suffer from chronic pain, your body continues to hurt for weeks, months, or possibly even years after the original injury.

Doctors often define this kind of pain as any kind of pain that lasts for over 3 months. It can have serious effects on your day-to-day living as well as your mental health. But the good news is, you and your doctor can work together to treat it.

What Makes You Feel Chronic Pain?

Chronic Back Pain X-ray ImageThe feeling of pain comes from a series of messages that travel through your nervous system. When you hurt yourself, the injury triggers pain sensors in that particular area of your body that you have injured. The message is sent in the form of an electrical signal, which travels nerve to nerve until it finally reaches your brain. Your brain processes the signal and sends out the message that you are hurt. Usually the signal stops when the cause of the pain is resolved – For example, your body repairs the wound on your finger, or your torn muscle. But the difference with chronic pain, is that the nerve signals continue firing even after you’ve healed.

Which Conditions Cause it?

Sometimes it can begin without any obvious cause. But for many, it begins after an injury or because of a health condition.

Acute migraine category

This is a type of pain that notoriously lasts a long time. In medicine, the distinction between acute and chronic types of pain is sometimes determined by amount of time since onset. Two commonly used markers are pain that continues at 3 months and 6 months since onset, but some theorists and researchers have placed the transition from acute pain to chronic at 12 months. Others apply the term acute to pain that lasts less than 30 days. Chronic to pain of more than six months duration, and subacute to pain that lasts one to six months. A popular alternative definition of chronic pain, involving no fixed duration, is “pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing”.

Where does this pain come from?

This type of pain can originate from three sources. From within the body, the brain or from the spinal cord. Often, it is extremely difficult to treat. Epidemiological studies have found that between 8% to 11.2% of people in various countries suffer with widespread chronic pain.

The options

Various non-opioid medicines are initially recommended to treat this pain. Depending on whether the pain is due to tissue damage or is neuropathic. Psychological treatments including ‘cognitive behavioral therapy’ and ‘acceptance and commitment therapy’ may be effective for improving quality of life in those with chronic type pain.

Alternative treatment

In some cases, some who suffer with this pain may benefit from opioid treatment while others can be harmed by it. Sufferers with non-cancer pain might try opioids. But only if they have no history of either mental illness or substance abuse disorder. Opioids for pain should be stopped if they’re not effective in treating the pain.

Possible causes

 Image of man demonstrating he has back painSevere chronic pain is associated with a decrease in the likelihood of survival over the next 10 years of a patient’s life, particularly in patients with heart disease and respiratory disease. Sufferers tend to have higher rates of persistent chronic pain. but it isn’t clear whether the pain causes depression or whether depression causes the pain. It can also can contribute to decreased physical activity due to fear of making the pain worse. Pain intensity, pain control, and resiliency to pain can be influenced by different levels and types of social support a person with this kind of pain receives.

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