Around 50 million Americans deal with chronic pain each day. It can last months or even years and occurs all over the body. So, how do you know if you are experiencing chronic pain?
Read on to learn about what chronic pain is and the common types of chronic pain that get diagnosed.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts 12 weeks or more. It may be a sharp pain or dull pain, or it may feel like burning or aching. It can be a constant pain or intermittent, fading in and out.
You can experience chronic pain in any area of your body. It will feel different for everybody. You may experience different types of pain in your own body from part to part.
Chronic pain interferes with your daily life. It may prevent you from working or taking care of yourself and others. It can leave you feeling depressed and anxious and cause sleep problems.
Neuropathic pain occurs because of tissue injury or nerve damage. Neuropathy is caused by damage to the nerves instead of physical injury. These injured nerves send the wrong signals to the brain, often pain signals.
Your body has a nerve network that makes up the peripheral nervous system. When these nerves get injured, chronic pain is the result. Neuropathic pain is a common complication among those with diabetes.
Other sources of neuropathic pain include infections, disease, and surgery. Those with Parkinson’s Disease may also experience neuropathic pain. It is not always easy to find the cause of neuropathic pain in those without underlying conditions.
Nociceptive pain is the result of injury, inflammation, or physical pressure. Nociceptors are receptors in the body that exist to feel all pain. They also feel thermal and chemical pain as a result of hazardous chemicals and extreme temperatures.
Depending on where the pain is coming from, it can be further divided into two subcategories. The two types are somatic pain and visceral pain. Though they are both detected by the same nerves, they do not feel the same.
Somatic pain comes from the tendons, legs, arms, face, muscles, and other external body parts. This pain is a result of injury to the outer body. It can be an ache, throbbing pain, or sharp pain.
Somatic pain is felt by the nerves in the skin, tissues, or muscles. This pain can result because of an injury (cut, bruise) or chronic disease (arthritis).
Visceral pain comes from receptors located in the internal organs. Visceral pain is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and jitters. Visceral pain can be caused by infections in the stomach, constipation, or cancer.
With visceral pain, you may not feel pain in the affected area.
Management for All Types of Chronic Pain
There is no cure for the different types of chronic pain. You can often manage your pain on your own or with a pain management specialist. A specialist can help you navigate the world of chronic pain to find the right treatment for you.
To manage your chronic pain, be sure you are taking good care of yourself. Continue to take part in activities that you enjoy, to reduce stress and boost your mood. Eat a well-balanced diet and get enough sleep for your health and wellbeing.
Find Support for Chronic Pain
In addition to managing all types of chronic pain with treatment and lifestyle changes, find a support system. Having people to lean on in hard times can go a long way in coping with chronic pain and acheiving optimal health. Find others who are going through what you are going through and talk with them.
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