According to a 2018 study released by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50 million Americans are affected by chronic pain. This is not to be confused with acute pain, which is the body's reaction to a physical injury and typically doesn't last very long; the pain usually subsides as your body heals.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, is pain that doesn't go away in 3 months or more. This type of pain produces symptoms that can occur continuously or on an intermittent basis, and may fluctuate in intensity, depending on any number of factors such as time of day or level of physical activity. The causes of chronic pain may vary widely from one individual to the next.
Though chronic pain differs from acute pain in that it may result from a number of long-term conditions, the chronic pain can also be ‘extension’ of an original injury, wherein the initial cause of pain has healed, but the body’s pain processing signals continue to ‘fire’, rather than turning themselves off.
The more typical types of chronic pain, however, can be broken down into two different major categories:
This type of pain affects bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. These are a few of the possible causes for this type of pain:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports trauma
- Work injuries
- Diseases, such as osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis
Pain in this category often has no immediately apparent cause, and typically involves damage to the nerves, tissue or brain processes. Some of the symptoms frequently associated with this type of chronic pain include:
- Sharp, stabbing pain
- ‘Pins and needles’ sensation
- Phantom limb syndrome
How Pain Works
In simple terms, pain begins with a ‘trigger’, whether it be an acute injury or the onset of a disease/disorder. In reaction, the body’s nerve receptors detect offending stimuli and transmit signals through neurons in the central nervous system to the brain, which processes the pain signals and generates a response.
The spinal cord also plays a role in the pain process, in that it functions as something of a ‘messenger’, transmitting sensory and motor impulse signals back and forth to and from the brain. Additionally, the spinal cord furnishes the body’s reflexes; the impulses that cause us to instantly and forcefully retreat from harmful or painful situations.
This already-intricate pain process is further complicated by the fact that pain is subjective; each person feels pain differently and has a unique threshold for pain tolerance. Furthermore, the degree of pain experienced within each person from one day to the next may vary based on ‘what kind of day’ the nervous system is having; i.e., emotions, (such as depression,) excess tension or stress, and traumatic past or present experiences may all have bearing on the intensity of pain occurring at any given moment.
In the case of chronic pain, the degree of pain perceived in an individual may feel worse over time even when the offending stimuli have not worsened; pain may simply ‘feel’ worse by virtue of having been endured for longer periods of time.
What You Can Do About Chronic Pain
There are numerous ways to address pain, from simple lifestyle changes all the way to surgical procedures. Treatments and solutions may be as unique to a patient as is the pain they experience; there is no one-size-fits-all approach to eliminating pain. Two patients with identical injuries may warrant two entirely difference methods for relief. For this reason, it’s important that the sufferer becomes familiar with all available options, whether they be holistic, surgical or psychological in nature.
When chronic pain cannot be relieved by way of a simple change in healthy lifestyle habits, a thorough consultation with an expert pain management specialist is recommended. Pain doctors understand the right questions to ask, and the correct physical regions to examine based on feedback from the patient as to the location, type, intensity and frequency of the pain.
Florida Pain Relief Centers Wants to Relieve Your Chronic Pain
At Florida Pain Relief Centers, our expert pain physicians focus on providing comprehensive, personalized care for every patient. The highly-skilled providers at FPRC take a multidisciplinary approach to advanced pain management, assessing your individual needs to more effectively relieve your chronic pain and restore your quality of life.
We are equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technologies and a comprehensive, multimodal approach to treating your chronic pain. Relieving your pain and ensuring your comfort are the top priorities at Florida Pain Relief Centers.
If you are tired of living with chronic pain and want more information on options for minimizing or eliminating your suffering, call Florida Pain Relief Centers at (800) 215-0029 or click the button below to schedule your consultation online for one of our many clinic locations.