Like the human brain, chronic pain is mysterious and complex, with science and medicine slowly uncovering its secrets. It appears to strike without cause and can last indefinitely, unlike acute pain, but its symptoms can be managed.
WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?
Pain is a sign in the nervous system of physical duress. It is a feeling, a tingle, prick, burn, sting, or ache. It can be intense or dull. Pain can be pinpointed or spread over your body. We know two kinds: chronic pain and acute pain. Acute pain means that you could be injured or have a condition requiring short-term care. But chronic pain is distinct, firing off signals for weeks, months, or perhaps years.
CHRONIC PAIN CONDITIONS
While the exact source of chronic pain is unknown – and medicine and science will admit that it may not exist – we have a good idea of its list of conditions. Chronic pain may include these:
- Back Pain may be the leading suspect of chronic pain. It can be sensed anywhere along the spine from the neck area, the mid-back, continuing to the lower back area. Different kinds of back pain or neck pain, the pain felt behind the thorax or chest wall, lower back pain, and the bottom tip of your spine.
- Nerve Pain, or a type of pain also called neuralgia, is triggered by issues with one or multiple nerves. Nerve pain is different from tissue-related pain because it requires various kinds of medicine for treatment.
- Headaches or migraines are caused by illness or stress.
- Phantom Pain. Patients missing a limb often complain of dull sensations of pain in either the missing limb or the base of the absent limb, even with the body part being clearly missing. This is called the sensation of phantom pain.
- Scar Pain is another well-known source of chronic pain. It often is the result of a surgical procedure or a surface trauma wound that did not heal cleanly.
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This is mostly related to either a trauma such as surgery or injury. CPRS can happen after musculoskeletal trauma resulting in serious and debilitating pain. It is normally split into two categories: CRPS type 1 describing a condition absent of nerve damage; or CRPS type 2, a condition where there is confirmed nerve damage.
- Shingles Postherpetic Neuralgia. After an early infection, the chickenpox virus lies inactive in your immune system. Shingles are the recurrence of the virus. The virus harms nerves, resulting in a painful rash in the distressed area. This kind of pain is experienced around and on the area that was once affected by shingles.
- Arthritis is a common disorder causing inflammation and pain of the joints. There are two leading types of arthritis: Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis.
- Other chronic pain complaints can happen because of injury, trauma, diseases like cancer, or post-operative issues. Some chronic pain conditions have no clear diagnosis, such as Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a puzzling illness whose symptoms include pervasive musculoskeletal pain, causing discomfort in fibrous body tissues – except there is no evidence of tissue harm, but you can still experience constant fatigue and pain.
FACTS ABOUT CHRONIC PAIN
In most cases, chronic pain will be obvious if it continues for more than three months in the same area of your body. Here are some numbers about chronic pain:
- 100 million in the U.S. experience chronic pain.
- 10 percent have pain everyday lasting longer than three months.
- Chronic pain affects more than 1.5 billion people globally.
- Chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term ill-health.
- About 27 percent of Americans believe their chronic pain originates in the lower back.
- 15 percent believe it is brought on by a migraine or headache.
- 15 percent are convinced their chronic pain started in their neck.
- About four percent of Americans believe their chronic pain started in the face.
- Two times as many females as males experience headaches, facial pain, or migraines.
- 77 percent say their chronic pain caused depression.
- 51 percent of adults report they have no command of their discomfort.
Your therapist or medical healthcare provider may recommend different treatment options, such as acupuncture, brain stimulation, drugs, local electrical stimulation, and surgery, but researchers have discovered the potential of something else – ketamine, once strictly used as an anesthetic. Ketamine may strengthen neurotransmitters in the brain, helping you manage symptoms of mood disorders and chronic pain. If you believe you are experiencing this kind of pain, contact us today for more information.