You’re not alone if you suffer from Chronic Pain.
- As many as 40% of Americans are estimated to suffer with some kind of chronic pain.
- As many as 60% will suffer with a year or more of persistent low back or neck pain.
Science has made much progress in recent years to help us understand the nature of chronic pain as a disease. Suppose you bump your knee hard against a table leg. It hurts a lot for a few minutes, but then what happens? The pain goes away.
Did the harm to your knee go away? No. Your brain and spinal cord simply adapted to the signal from your knee, and reset its self, deciding not to feel the pain anymore. This is the normal way we respond to pain.
How does pain become a persistent problem lasting months or years?
Abnormal pain signals:
One explanation is that changes take place in the wiring of your spinal cord and brain that result in normal pain signals not shutting off. In this case the original cause of the pain, be that a herniated disc or some other injury, may have been fixed or repaired, however the brain is unable to recognize this and continues to fire pain signals.
Trauma or Injury:
In other cases a traumatic event or injury can lead to nerve or tissue damage. Such an injury may can irreparable nerve or tissue damage or arthritis thus constant pain is the resulting effect.
Viral or bacterial infections such as lymes disease, shingles or prostate infections can cause chronic pain.
Cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, scoliosis and inflammatory diseases such a crohn’s are common causes of severe, persistent or chronic pain.
Managing Chronic Pain
Early intervention is key to heading off long term pain.
If you experience pain that continues or worsens over the course of 2 weeks, you will benefit from an evaluation by a pain management doctor.
If a patient has problems with bowel or bladder control, numbness in the groin or rectal area, or leg weakness they should seek help immediately. These symptoms are a sign of nerve damage and can be irreversible if not treated appropriately.