Understanding Chronic Pain, by Thomas Kindl, MD, Blanchard Valley Pain Management
When hearing the term “chronic pain,” many people can quickly mention a friend or family member who had to stop their favorite hobby because of it. Chronic pain varies in intensity and frequency, affecting over 100 million Americans.
Some experience chronic pain constantly, while others only feel it in episodes. Though many people have heard of it, few can accurately define the condition and fully understand the effects chronic pain can have.
According to the American Chronic Pain Association chronic pain is defined as, “ongoing or recurrent pain, lasting beyond the usual course of acute illness or injury or more than three to six months, and which adversely affects the individual’s well-being.”
Any person experiencing noticeable pain for more than three months, regardless of age, is suffering from chronic pain. Pain can originate from a wide variety of sources. When it comes to chronic pain, the primary sources are joint pain, neck pain, back pain, headaches or injury-related pain.
Those who are suffering from chronic pain experience symptoms of constantly feeling an ache ranging from mild to severe, shooting or burning types of pain, or extended feelings of soreness, stiffness or tightness.
Aside from the obvious physical issues caused by chronic pain, many individuals also report psychological struggles. These struggles include fatigue, mood changes, stress, anxiety, depression, irritability or restless nights of sleep.
If you are worried that you or someone you know is experiencing chronic pain, it is in your best interest to contact a pain management specialist.