What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain can be caused by a long list of underlying reasons. At the core, the pain itself is caused by inflammation or nerve problems. The primary symptom is persistent pain that can last just a few months or pain that can go on for years.
Compared to acute pain, chronic pain is not as easy to diagnose. Acute pain is also usually sharp and lasts under 6 months. Acute pain is usually caused by something specific such as a broken bone, burns or cuts, labor, or childbirth.
Conversely, chronic pain is a disease state that affects 1 out of 5 adults. Chronic pain can feel dull, throbbing, burning, shooting, squeezing, stinging, sore, stiff, and more. It can also lead to mental health conditions. Daily pain can be emotionally stressful.
According to Mental Health America, “Chronic pain… has been linked to activity limitations, dependence on opioids, anxiety, and depression, and reduced quality of life.”
Pain exists to tell us when something is wrong, but you may be experiencing pain signals that continue long after you believe the problem is gone. Not only can it disrupt your daily activities and routines, chronic pain can take a toll on your long-term physical and emotional health.
What are the symptoms of chronic pain?
If your pain persists for longer than 3 months, you may be experiencing chronic pain syndrome (CPS). Chronic pain symptoms include:
- Heightened sensitivity
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of flexibility
- Loss of stamina
- Joint pain
- Muscle spasms or aches
- “Pins and needles”
- Trouble sleeping
The pain itself usually manifests in the back, joints, mouth, face, muscles, bones, and neck, but it can appear anywhere. Other common areas of chronic pain complaints include the leg, ankle, or foot, elbow, head, knee, hips, glutes, shoulder, and more.
Chronic pain can also feed on itself in a cycle of pain. When you are in persistent pain, you can become more sensitive to the pain itself. When your nervous system is repeatedly stimulated with pain, your nerve fibers and cells can actually become even more active (called neural remodeling).
What are the causes of chronic pain?
Chronic pain syndrome is often first caused by an injury or other painful condition such as:
You may also have chronic pain from a sprain or strain, car accident or other personal injuries, long-term poor posture, or another ongoing illness. In some cases, there is no clear cause for chronic pain, but it is still treatable.
Chronic pain can affect anyone of any age, but usually affects older adults more. If you’re experiencing long-lasting page following an injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack, you may have a specific but treatable type of chronic pain called complex regional pain syndrome. It usually affects the arm or leg.
What does BackFit do to treat chronic pain?
While we work with patients to address existing chronic pain, our goal at BackFit Health + Spine is to prevent chronic pain from occurring in the first place. Whether you’re trying to avoid it or looking to reduce pain or eliminate it, our medical team, physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists work as a team together to create a custom treatment plan for you.
Targeted exercises, stretches, and electrotherapy (like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) combined with regular adjustments, massage, and medical intervention is proven to reduce or eliminate chronic pain.
If this conservative treatment plan does not work to control pain, we also have pain management medical doctors on staff to recommend and treat with non-invasive procedures, such as nerve blocks.
By treating chronic pain, our goal is to get you back to your highest quality of life.