Chronic Pain

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Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain Syndrome

Chronic pain syndrome is a common problem affecting almost 40-50 percent of the total world population. Pain is the sensation triggered by the central nervous system as an alarm of a possible injury. However, in the case of chronic pain, these signals are kept firing by the nervous system, which can continue for weeks, months and years. This type of pain is called neuropathic pain due to the pathological changes in neurons of the peripheral and central nervous system.

There need not be any past injury or evidence of any body damage for the initialization of chronic pain syndrome.  Chronic pain can be defined as pain that has lasted for more than 12 weeks and has not responded to any treatment. Thus, chronic pain is more challenging than other disabilities since there’s no objective evidence or findings supporting it and there are no medical tests available which can measure its levels.

How Prevalent is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Chronic pain can be accounted for as the most universal form of human stress. Chronic pain syndrome is very common.  Its prevention, assessment and treatment are the principal challenges for healthcare providers. The prevalence rate of chronic pain syndrome may vary, but it’s clear that more than 50 percent of people in the US suffer from one type or another of persistent pain. In a more detailed study, more than 45 percent of people suffer from musculoskeletal pain such as back pain, neck pain, knee pain, etc. Most recent data confirmed that more than 13 percent of people worldwide are suffering from pain daily.

Factors Responsible for Chronic Pain Syndrome

Chronic pain is pain that lasts for more than the normal healing period, i.e., 12 weeks. It’s very difficult to evaluate the severity of pain because the majority is classified as imaginary and only the patient can experience it. Furthermore, it has been observed to disturb sleep and hence degrades one’s health and functional capacity.

Some of the factors, which can be responsible for pain are injury, disease, viral or bacterial infection, accidents, and surgery.

Symptoms Associated with Chronic Pain Syndrome

The symptoms of chronic pain may include:

  • Mild to severe disturbing sensation such as shooting, burning, aching
  • Feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness or stiffness

Apart from the sensation, other problems that are as associated with pain include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleeplessness
  • Withdrawal from activity and increased desire to sleep
  • Sensitivity to infection due to weak immunity
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Functional disability

Some of the other obvious causes, directly proportional to the severity and duration of pain, are:

  • Alcoholism
  • Limb or leg amputation
  • Diabetes
  • Facial nerve problems
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spine Surgery

What Goes Wrong in Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Chronic pain is a challenging condition wherein the pain remains active in the nervous system beyond the period of healing. Chronic pain need not always be an after effect of any injury or infection. This can take a toll on a person’s physical, emotional and financial well-being.

For instance, the most common chronic pain may originate from headaches, joint pains, backaches, etc. Other kinds of chronic pain may originate from sports injuries or generalized muscle or nerve pain can lead to chronic conditions.

It’s been observed that the above-mentioned pathological changes can damage or weaken neurons in the central nervous system. Due to this damage, the normal pain signaling process can be disturbed. This can cause hyper sensitization or spontaneous neuronal activity of the nervous system and nerves within that system cannot work to transmit sensations to the brain. This leads to a sense of numbness, leading to an individual experiencing pain in the affected region.