Everyone suffers from occasional pain due to arthritis, back pain or migraines, but if you’ve experienced pain lasting several months or longer, you may be one of the millions of Americans with chronic pain. This is a complex condition whose exact causes and treatments remain difficult to understand and hard to control, despite increasing research.
However, some of the more prevalent causes for chronic pain tend to be due to the following:
- Arthritis. This condition stiffens your joints and cause painful inflammation. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is caused when the protective cartilage on the ends of occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Along with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis is a common cause of chronic pain.
- Lower back pain. If you have a herniated disc or a degenerative disc disease, this may be the cause of your chronic pain.
- Nerve damage. When your skin tissue is damaged, it can also cause severe damage to your nerves even after the skin tissue has healed. This is called neuropathy, which occurs when your damaged nerves send misguided pain signals, resulting in chronic pain.
- Shingles. This viral infection causes a blistering rash that emits deep, penetrating pain. The pain goes away for most people as the rash heals, but for others it can cause long-term nerve pain that can last for months and even years.
- Fibromyalgia. People with this disease experience widespread pain and tenderness, especially in the joints, tendons and muscles caused by overactive nerves.
- Multiple sclerosis. MS is a disease that affects your brain and spinal cord. Initial symptoms are weakness, tingling, numbness and stiff muscles. Chronic pain with MS manifests itself as burning, aching, prickling or a “pins and needles” feeling.
There are several ways chronic pain can be treated, but knowing which one is best for you can be a challenge. Visit your doctor for a pain assessment. He or she can then recommend certain pain medicines or other pain treatments that make the most sense for your chronic pain.