Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks, and unfortunately, about 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. There are different disease conditions such as low back pain, fibromyalgia, and arthritis which cause the state of chronic pain and seriously alter the quality of life.
Chronic pain often makes life more challenging. Chronic pain may originate with an initial injury or infection or there may be an ongoing cause of pain. Some people suffer from chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or infection.
And if you are one of those people who is experiencing an ongoing pain, but not sure whether it is acute or chronic, here’s how you identify the pain. Read on to know more.
General Aspects Of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a pain that is:
- Usually prolonged in duration, and pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks.
- Described as a shooting, burning, or aching with a feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness.
- Chronic pain may occur in a variety of locations in the body and for many different reasons, so to make the correct diagnosis, it is must for patients and health professionals’ to work together and identify the cause and symptoms of the pain.
Physical Aspects Of Chronic Pain
According to American academy of pain medicine, chronic pain severely affects the everyday life of patients.1 Chronic pain sufferer often suffers from following symptoms:
- Getting up in the morning is really hard.
- For people with chronic pain, it is really difficult and frustrating to start the day. Even for people, who may experience less pain during the day, may still experience significant irritation and stiffness in the morning. It is usually a big challenge every day to get out of the bed and take on the day.
- Completing everyday chores is not an easy deal.
- Chronic pain disrupts people’s daily routine and activities. Many people with chronic pain wouldn’t be able to do everything on their to-do list in a single day. In fact, routine chores like cooking, shopping, other household tasks are often felt difficult and can increase pain and fatigue.
- Always have fatigue, lack of energy, and needs a lot of rest.
- Chronic pain causes tense muscles, limited mobility, and sometimes disability. Usually, the people who suffer from chronic pain have weak immune system, and always have symptoms of withdrawal from activity and increased need to rest.
Psychological And Social Aspects Of Chronic Pain
According to National Institute of Health, approximately 1/2 to 2/3 of all patients diagnosed with chronic pain manifest various levels of psychological distress.2 According to this research, patients with chronic pain frequently have psychopathology, which includes depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, somatization disorder, drug dependence, and occasionally personality disorder.
Here are some common symptoms that affect people with chronic pain.
The emotional toll of chronic pain makes the pain worse. Anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue interact in complex ways with chronic pain and may decrease the body’s production of natural pain killer.
For chronic pain sufferer, it is really hard to fall asleep and have a good peaceful sleep. This sleep deprivation leads to lack of energy and inability to focus during the day.
According to NCBI, a significant relationship was found between the grade of sleep deprivation and pain intensity.3 According to National Sleep foundation, the impacts of pain-related sleep loss on millions of Americans are far reaching.4 People with pain also feel less control over their sleep, worry more about the lack of sleep, and exhibit greater sleep sensitivity.
Inability To Focus
Most of the time increased level of pain may cause difficulty to focus on other things such as reading, exercising, or having a conversation with people. In fact, these issues often cause an increased risk of suicidal tendency in chronic pain sufferer.
Negative Impact On Social Life
Chronic pain not only affects your body but also impacts your interaction with the world as a whole. Chronic pain can prevent you from enjoying the social and personal life. People with chronic pain feel that they always have a defensive posture resulting in an inability to live life in the present moment.
Here is the data of scientific research about how chronic pain impacts patients and their social environment.5
If you have any of these symptoms and struggling with your everyday life, you must seek medical attention immediately.
|↑1||AAPM Facts and Figures on Pain. American Academy of Pain Medicine|
|↑2||Manchikanti, Laxmaiah, Bert Fellows, and Vijay Singh. “Understanding psychological aspects of chronic pain in interventional pain management.” Pain Physician 5, no. 1 (2002): 57-82.|
|↑3||Artner, Juraj, Balkan Cakir, Jane-Anna Spiekermann, Stephan Kurz, Frank Leucht, Heiko Reichel, and Friederike Lattig. “Prevalence of sleep deprivation in patients with chronic neck and back pain: a retrospective evaluation of 1016 patients.” J Pain Res 6, no. 1-6 (2013): b22.|
|↑4||PAIN AND SLEEP. National Sleep foundation|
|↑5||Dueñas, María, Begoña Ojeda, Alejandro Salazar, Juan Antonio Mico, and Inmaculada Failde. “A review of chronic pain impact on patients, their social environment and the health care system.” Journal of Pain Research 9 (2016): 457.|