What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is persistent and long-lasting. Pain is considered chronic after it has been present for three to six months. It can be constant, or it may come and go. It can be brought on by specific activities, or it can seem to appear out of nowhere. Chronic pain can be very difficult and confusing, but it is easier to manage after it has been explained.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain can be caused by any number of disorders or injuries. Sometimes the cause is obvious, such as stress-induced headaches or an improperly healed broken bone. Other times it is trickier to understand because it stems from an undiagnosed illness such as fibromyalgia, or a serious injury in the case of neuropathy. It is important to seek medical care when dealing with chronic pain to learn more about the specific reason behind the pain.
Will it Go Away?
Most forms of chronic pain will go away after the underlying cause has been discovered and properly treated. Treatment comes in many forms. The type of treatment that is used will depend on the cause of the pain. Some treatments include physical therapy, medication, and surgery. During the appointment, the patient and the doctor will discuss all available options and come to an agreement about the best form of treatment. Some forms of chronic pain do not go away because the underlying cause has no cure. There is still treatment available that will ease the pain to make it easier to manage.
What are the Risks?
Pain is usually an indicator that something is wrong within the body. If a patient is in pain for a long period of time without seeking treatment, the main risk is that whatever caused the pain will worsen. For example, if the pain has been caused by a muscle tear it will continue to get worse and could cause irreparable damage with each day that it goes untreated. Another risk of chronic pain is that being in pain every single day for months or even years can, and frequently does, have a negative impact the patient’s overall emotional health and wellbeing. Chronic pain can cause depression, anger, fatigue, and insomnia. The pain, along with these side effects, can lead to disability and a diminished quality of life. That is why it is important to seek treatment before this occurs.