Occasional aches and pains are normal. Actually, they’re more than normal – they’re necessary. They are the bodies’ way of letting us know that we may be hurt or that something may be wrong. In most cases, this pain will go away once the initial injury has healed.
Except sometimes, it doesn’t. If your pain lasts at least 12 weeks, that is considered chronic pain. Chronic pain can take many forms, like sharp and dull pain or burning and aching pain.
Common causes of chronic pain include headaches, postsurgical pain, post-traumatic pain, lower back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neuropathic pain, and psychogenic pain.
Acute Pain vs. Chronic Pain
Acute pain is sudden pain caused by something very specific, such as surgery, broken bones, dental work, burns or cuts, or labor and childbirth. Acute pain goes away after this injury has healed.
Chronic pain lasts longer – the consensus seems to vary on just how long. Some say chronic pain is pain that lasts more than 12 weeks, while others argue it is at least six months before it is classified as chronic pain.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
As far as the pain itself it goes, it can take quite a few different forms:
- Dull aching
Additional symptoms other than pain can include:
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Disturbances in sleep patterns
- Mood changes
Causes of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is most often the result of an initial injury or health condition, possibly because of nerve damage. Some health conditions linked to the development of chronic pain include:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Interstitial cystitis
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
Although anyone can develop chronic pain, the older you are the more likely you are to develop it. Other factors that increase your risk of developing some form of chronic pain include being injured, having a surgical operation, being overweight, or even being female.
Treatment for Chronic Pain
When treating your chronic pain, the primary goal is to give you back your ability to function in daily life. It may be impossible to remove pain entirely, but you may be able to reduce symptoms enough to return to what you consider normal.
A standard anesthetic and pain reliever used across the globe for decades, ketamine is now being administered through a series of infusions for the treatment of chronic pain conditions.
Some medications can treat chronic pain, to varying degrees of success.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like Tylenol, aspirin, or Ibuprofen
- Opioid pain relievers like morphine or codeine
- Other antidepressants or anticonvulsants
Contact us today to learn more about our innovative new treatment options.