Chronic pain can be mild to severe. It can vary from day to day from mild to more extreme. Chronic pain is discomfort that last longer than six months, and around one million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Not only a physical problem, chronic pain is an emotional issue as well. The pain can remain active in the nervous system for months or years.
How many people have chronic pain in the U.S.?
Around 50 million Americans suffer from severe, chronic pain in the United States, according to a new study prepared by the National Institutes of Health. Based on a 2012 survey, 25 million adults in American have daily chronic pain, and 23 million more report severe pain.
What causes chronic pain?
Common sources of pain come from joint pains, headaches, injury pains, neck trauma, and back injuries. Other pains are related to tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, sinusitis, and pain affecting other parts of the body such as pelvis, shoulders, and hips. Muscle and nerve pain can develop into a chronic condition.
Chronic pain may originate from trauma, injury, or an infection. There can be other ongoing causes of pain. Past injuries or damage to the body can cause chronic pain to develop and persist. Pain can be made worse by emotions. Stress, anxiety, anger, depression, and fatigue can interact in a complex mechanism, which decreases the body’s production of natural painkillers (endorphins). The negative feelings may increase levels of substances that increase sensations of pain, which stays in a loop or cycle. With chronic pain, basic bodily defenses may be compromised, and severe pain can even suppress the immune system.
What symptoms are associated with chronic pain?
Pain will vary from person to person. One person may not have the same tolerance of pain as another. The pain amount or severity depends on many factors within a human body. Usually, no two people will feel the exact same pain the exact same way, or to the same exact extent. One easy way to describe your pain to your doctor is by a scale of “mild, moderate, or severe.” Symptoms associated with chronic pain include:
- Pain that doesn’t go away and is mild to severe.
- A shooting, aching, burning, and/or electrical pain.
- Stiffness, tightness, soreness, and discomfort feelings.
- Weakened immunity
- Withdrawal from activity
- Needing more rest
- Mood changes such as stress, anxiety, irritability, depression, fear, and hopelessness.
What are the risk factors for chronic pain?
Certain conditions that come with normal aging may affect bones and joints in ways that cause chronic pain. Nerve damage and injuries that don’t heal properly are reasons for chronic pain. There are certain risks factors for chronic pain which include the following:
- Improper lifting/carrying heavy objects
- Poor posture for years
- Overweight which put a strain on the back and knees
- Curvature of the spine which is a congenital condition.
- Wearing high heels
- Traumatic injury
- Sleeping wrong or on a bad mattress
- Aging of the spine
How is chronic pain diagnosed?
Determining the cause of chronic pain can take several techniques and tests, including imaging scans, visual measurement tools, and more. Explain your symptoms to your Phoenix pain doctor, and he/she will ask you about your history of illness, any prior surgeries, and injuries that you’ve had. Many times, the doctor requires you fill out a questionnaire to help evaluate your pain. A physical examination is also performed, along with blood tests. Depending on your symptoms, testing will include bone scans, x-rays, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nerve studies.
At Pain and Spine Clinics in Phoenix AZ, the Board Certified physicians offer top treatment for chronic pain. Over 90% of patients are able to achieve relief without surgery, call us today!
American Pain Society (2015). NIH Study Shows Prevalence of Chronic or Severe Pain in U.S. Adults. Retrieved from: