What is chronic pain syndrome?
Chronic pain syndrome improves in what we request as a vicious cycle. A vicious cycle is a cycle of pain that causes pain: chronic pain that causes secondary complications, which subsequently makes the original chronic pain worse.
What are these secondary complications? Chronic pain can lead to some collective problems over time. For example, many people tend to have trouble sleeping due to pain. After a while, they are so tired and their patience has worn out so much that everything starts to bother them. They also find that dealing with chronic pain becomes increasingly difficult. Some people stop working.
With the loss of your job, you may experience financial problems. The stress of these problems keeps them awake at night. Thinking too much in the middle of the night can make the original sleep problem worse. It can be hard to stop thinking even in the middle of the day. Chronic pain can also affect the roles that people have in the family. Children’s activities, family functions, and parties with friends are missed.
As a result, many people struggle with guilt. Guilt isn’t the only common emotion in living with chronic pain. Patients tend to report some grouping of fear, irritability, anxiety, and depression. Patients also tend to express that they have lost the meaning of life. They are stuck. All of these problems are common when living with chronic pain.
Symptoms of chronic pain syndrome
Chronic pain syndrome affects both your physical and mental health. While the pain can be almost constant, there may be flare-ups of more severe pain due to increased stress or activity. Symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Muscle pains
- Burning pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of endurance and flexibility due to decreased activity
- Mood problems, such as unhappiness, anxiety, and irritability
In a study presented in the quarterly pain, 60.8 percent of subjects who reported having chronic pain also had depression, most of them with “severe” level symptoms.
Causes of chronic pain syndrome
Conditions that cause widespread and lasting pain are, obviously, often related to chronic pain syndrome. Some of these conditions include:
- Osteoarthritis: This type of arthritis is generally the result of wear and tear on the body and occurs when the protective cartilage between the bones wears away.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease that causes painful inflammation in the joints.
- Back pain: This pain may be due to muscle strains, nerve compression, or arthritis of the spine (called spinal stenosis).
- Fibromyalgia: This is a neurological illness that causes pain and tenderness in various parts of the body (known as cause points).
- Inflammatory bowel disease: This condition causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and can lead to intestinal pain and cramps.
- Surgical trauma
- Advanced cancer
Even when these circumstances improve (through medications or therapies), some people may still knowledge chronic pain. This type of pain is usually caused by a lack of communication between the brain and the nervous system. (For unexplained reasons, some people may experience this type of pain without any known trigger.)
Chronic pain syndrome can change the way neurons (nerve cells in the brain that transmit and process sensory information) behave, making them hypersensitive to pain messages. For example, conferring to the Arthritis Substance, 20 percent of people with osteoarthritis who have their knees replaced (and presumably no more painful joint problems) will still report chronic pain.
Risk factors for chronic pain syndrome
Research confirms that some people are more susceptible to chronic pain syndrome than others. They are:
- Those with chronic and painful situations, such as arthritis.
- Those who are depressed. Experts aren’t exactly sure why this is the case, but one theory is that depression changes the way the brain receives and interprets messages from the nervous system.
- Those who smoke. There are no definitive answers so far, but specialists are exploring why smoking seems to make the pain worse in people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain disorders.
- Those who are obese. Conferring to research, 50 percent of people looking for obesity treatment report mild to severe pain. Experts are unsure if this is due to the stress that extra weight puts on the body or if it is due to the complex way obesity interacts with the body’s hormones and metabolism.
- Those who are women. Women tend to be more sensitive to pain. Researchers theorize that it may be due to hormones or changes in the bulk of female versus male nerve fibers.
- Those who are finished 65 years old. As you get older, you are more prone to all kinds of conditions that can lead to chronic pain.
Diagnosis of chronic pain syndrome
The first thing your doctor will do is obtain a complete medical history. You will be asked things like:
- When your pain started
- How you feel (for example, burning and sharp or dull and achy)
- If something makes it better or worse
Because sure situations can lead to chronic pain syndrome, your doctor may order imaging tests to regulate if there is joint or tissue damage that may explain your pain. For example, your doctor may order an MRI scan to determine if your pain is from a herniated disc, an X-ray to see if you have osteoarthritis or a blood test to check for rheumatoid arthritis.
Without being able to find a direct cause for your pain, or if they think the pain is disproportionate to the trigger, some doctors will dismiss your symptoms or tell you that they are “in your head.” It’s hard to be proactive when you’re not feeling well, but keep researching alternatives. If necessary, talk to your doctor about what you think is causing your pain and ask for the appropriate tests and treatments. Working as a team is your best chance to find relief.
Treatment for chronic pain syndrome
Chronic pain syndrome can be unnerving, but it is treatable. Some options include:
- Medicines to relieve pain. These can be anti-inflammatories, steroids, muscle relaxants, antidepressants that also have analgesic qualities, and in severe cases, opioids (this is the last resort).
- Physical therapy to raise flexibility and range of motion
- Nerve blocks to interrupt pain signals
- Psychological/behavioral therapy: While they may not have a great impact on pain, some psychological therapies can have a positive effect on mood. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (a type of talk therapy that helps you reframe negative thinking) has been shown to be effective in improving mood, even up to a year after treatment ends. In another study, biofeedback was useful in dipping muscle tension and depression and successfully coping with chronic pain. Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches you to use your mind to control bodily reactions, such as rapid breathing.
- Acupuncture. According to an analysis of studies, acupuncture reduced pain levels in 50 percent of those who tried it, compared with a 30 percent reduction in those who did not receive acupuncture.
- Hypnosis. Research reports that 71 percent of subjects with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reported much better symptoms after a course of hypnosis. These effects lasted up to five years after treatment.
- Yoga. Because it helps relax muscles, stimulates deep, restorative breathing, and increases mindfulness, Trusted Source research shows that yoga may be beneficial in reducing depression and anxiety that accompany chronic pain, thereby improving your quality of mind.
Several problems are associated with living with chronic pain syndrome:
- Avoidance of pain out of fear
- Dependence on opioid analgesics
- Being unemployed
- Financial stressors due to being out of work or unpaid medical bills
- Poor concentration and short-term memory
- Stress-related health problems such as headaches, reflux, and indigestion, diarrhea, increased blood pressure
- People who do not believe you or who invalidate the legitimacy of your pain
- Having to refuse participation in family functions because of too much pain or because it would cause too much pain
- Not being able to help and others don’t understand
- Lack of daily structure and feeling aimless
- Lack of meaning or direction to life