Chronic pain is classified as pain that lasts for weeks, months or years. This can be pain caused by illness or injury.
There are two main types of chronic pain. These are nociceptive and neuropathic. Nociceptive pain is caused by peripheral nerve fibres being stimulated. Examples of injuries that may cause this type of pain include sprains and burns. Neuropathic pain can be caused by a malfunction of the nervous system, which may be caused by damage or disease.
There are various medical conditions that may cause chronic pain. These include arthritis, fibromyalgia and sciatica. Pain from injury to a joint, such as the hip, can also cause chronic pain. Common sites effected by chronic pain include the neck, leg, knee and foot. Back pain is also common, either in the upper or lower back.
Although chronic pain can be caused by illness or injury, in some cases there is no evidence of injury or damage.
The treatment given for chronic pain will depend on the cause of the pain. For example, if the pain is caused by a specific condition, then the actual condition causing the pain will be treated.
Chronic pain treatment can include pain relief medication, acupuncture, meditation, exercise and a balanced diet. As chronic pain can cause depression and anxiety, a mental health professional may be recommended. Stress and depression can make chronic pain worse, so both emotional and physical health are important.
Whether the pain is caused by neurpathy or the activation of nociceptors, it is important to seek treatment. Chronic pain can range from mild to severe pain. In some cases it may be inconvenient, in other cases it could be incapacitating.
Once you have received medical treatment, you may want to look at some complementary therapies to assist you with pain management. Aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and naturopathy may all be able to help your physical and emotional health. You should check with your doctor before trying any other therapies.
For further advice and support, there are online forums where you can discuss chronic pain with other patients. Forums may be useful to finding advice on how others have managed to treat chronic pain.
There are also websites with information on the different treatments that are available.
Chronic pain can be difficult to treat as the cause is sometimes unknown. Using the online resources that are available will give you more information on the types of treatment, so if there are any that you want to try you can discuss the possibility with your doctor.
- Chronic pain can be neuropathic or nociceptive
- It can last weeks, months or years
- There are various different types of treatment available