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The Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Woman's chronic pain focused at the base of the neckChronic pain is a fairly common syndrome, affecting tens of millions of people in the U.S. alone. This medical condition is characterized as pain that persists for longer than six months. Chronic pain can range from mild to excruciating, continuous or episodic, sometimes just a dull ache and sometimes completely debilitating.

When it comes to this syndrome, the pain signals in the nervous system remain active for long periods of time (weeks, months, and even years). Unsurprisingly, the emotional and physical toll that this can inflict on an individual is quite substantial.

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The Source of Chronic Pain

In most cases, this pain can be traced back to joint pain, headaches, prior injuries, and backaches. However, things like sinus pain, tendinitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome can be the sources of chronic pain in plenty of cases. Some people have localized nerve or muscle pain that eventually develops into a chronic condition as well.

So, doctors often see that many people who come in with chronic pain had it originate with a prior injury/trauma or even an infection. However, there are also ongoing causes of pain that have developed in more chronic conditions. The really intriguing cases are patients who develop chronic pain in the absence of any injury or evidence of bodily damage from their past.

Complicating Factors for Chronic Pain

The emotional toll that this condition takes can make the symptoms of chronic pain that much worse. Stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and anger all can impact your pain in different ways and these can inhibit the body’s ability to produce it’s natural painkillers. Additionally, these negative feelings can actually spark the production of specific chemicals that can amplify a patient’s symptoms. This is the vicious cycle of pain for people living with this chronic disorder.

So far, the research specifically focused on chronic pain has been limited, but it has helped us to gain a better understanding of this condition and how it can affect the body. In fact, there is considerable evidence that sustained pain will suppress the body’s immune system, thus leaving a person more vulnerable to further complications.

Common Symptoms of Chronic Pain

The most common symptoms associated with chronic pain include:

  • Pain that is described as burning, aching, shooting, or electrical
  • Persistent pain that can range from mild to quite severe
  • Feeling of tightness, discomfort, stiffness, or overall soreness

Unfortunately, pain is not a symptom that manifests on its own. There are a number of other complications which have been associated with long-term pain:

  • Sleeping problems or insomnia
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Lack of interest in daily activities
  • Compromised immune system
  • Disability
  • Fluctuations in mood such as depression, fear, irritability, hopelessness, anxiety, and stress

If you feel like you could be experiencing the symptoms of chronic pain, please talk to your doctor as soon as possible. There are many people who live with this pain for years before they chose to do anything about it. There are plenty of options available for people living with this medical condition.