Chronic pain is a rather broad term. It can refer to any pains occurring regularly over a period of three to six months or longer. Our goal in this article is to answer, in broad strokes, what causes chronic pain.
It’s also something that affects an awful lot of people. Studies estimate that some 11 percent of Americans experience some form of chronic pain. That’s about one out of 10 individuals, and more than 25 million in total — in this country alone.
So of course it’s an issue that warrants significant attention and research. There are therapists and medical practitioners who specialize in this area. New exercises and yoga routines are popping up every week with a specific focus on alleviating pain in the muscles, ligaments and joints. And as the scientific community uncovers new ingredients and properties that show promise toward providing relief, we see intriguing chronic pain products hit the market regularly.
Because of the inherent ambiguity of its definition, and its widespread impact, chronic pain tends be a point of confusion and frustration for much of the population. Therefore, our goal here is to shed some light on what would be described as chronic pain, and why it happens.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
As you are probably aware, our nerves are the receptors and signal-senders responsible for communicating feelings of pain (and other sensations) to the brain. Usually chronic pain relates in some way to the nervous system, which is tremendously complex and intertwined. This can make these recurring pain issues difficult to diagnose and treat. However, it usually helps to pinpoint the origin.
Oftentimes, chronic pain is simply a part of the aging process. While we get older, certain parts of the body break down or degrade. This can be exacerbated in instances of heavy use or misuse.
For instance, people are more likely to experience back pain if they’ve spent years working in heavy labor, or if they’ve gone through years of bad posture. Additionally, being overweight — and especially obese — takes a significant toll on the back as well as the knees and the rest of the lower body.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that many instances of chronic pain trace to a traumatic or acute injury. Sometimes a ligament sprain or a broken bone resulting from a collision or accident can emanate pain for years afterwards. Diseases and congenital conditions are frequently in play when chronic pain occurs. As examples, arthritis and fibromyalgia are commonly tied to the issue.
When there is some direct correlation to chronic pain, it might not make it hurt less but at least it makes it easier to manage and come to terms with. Situations where the cause is vague or mysterious leave us endlessly grappling for answers. In these cases the culprit is usually malfunctioning nerves or even a brain receptor issue where you are perceiving pains that shouldn’t actually exist.
This is the most challenging form of chronic pain to address, but there are a plenty of different options out there worth trying. Consult with a physician you trust or try out a supplement with strong reviews and see how it works for you. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of trial and error until you find a solution that fits.