What causes chronic pain?
Chronic pain is usually caused by an initial injury, such as a back sprain or pulled muscle. It can also include illnesses, musculoskeletal problems, injury, surgery and cancer.
Chronic pain can be widespread and can take many different forms. Sources of the pain can include, but are not limited to:
-Fibromyalgia, widespread pain in bones & muscle
-Arthritis or joint pain
-Headaches, including severe migraines
-Chronic pain caused by scar tissue
-Pain in various parts of the body, such as your neck and lower back
-Localised chronic pain caused by cancerous tumours
-Orchialgia (testicular pain)
What causes neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain can develop post-injury due to nerve damage and complications experienced during recovery.
Neuropathic pain can be chronic; it can also present differently from other forms of chronic pain. Sources of the pain can include, but are not limited to, diseases such as:
-Chronic fatigue syndrome
-IBS and other gastrointestinal issues
-Facial nerve problems
-Central nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
-HIV infection or AIDS
-Complex regional pain syndrome
Other sources may include:
-Nerve compression or infiltration by tumours
-Vulvodynia, a pain that affects the vulva, occurring with no obvious cause
-Phantom pain caused by amputation
-Pain caused by radiation therapy and other chemotherapy drugs
-Spinal nerve compression or inflammation
-Nerve damage caused by trauma or surgeries
How common are these pain disorders?
According to the Cleveland clinic, chronic pain disorders are one of the leading reasons for people to seek medical help, with approximately 25% of adult Americans experiencing chronic pain at some point during their lives. Similar levels have been observed in Europe and New Zealand, but there is an argument that this statistic could be skewed due to underreporting.
Studies have shown that the presence of co-morbidities has led to the under reporting of chronic pain, especially in elderly populations. These reported and real numbers are expected to rise globally as our population ages.