Complaints and Disease symptoms
Chronic pain can manifest itself in a wide variety of ways. Headaches, lower back pain, neck pain, joint pain, muscle pain, arthritis pain and cancer pain are the most common complaints with regard to chronic pain.
While chronic pain affects everyone differently, common symptoms include:
- Constant or intermittent pain
- Lack of sleep
Chronic Pain may manifest as Neurogenic or Psychogenic Pain:
Neurogenic pain is pain which is experienced due to damage to nerves which carry information about the pain. This could be in the peripheral or central nervous system. The damage causes faulty signals to be sent to the brain – as a result of which, the body experiences pain. This is common in conditions such as diabetes, chemotherapy, facial nerve problems, HIV infection or AIDS, multiple sclerosis, shingles, fibromyalgia and spinal injury.
Psychogenic pain is pain which has no physical explanation. It occurs in the absence of any previous injury, disease or any internal or external visible sign of damage. Chronic pain of this type may be caused due to psychological factors like Depression and Anxiety. Sometimes psychological factors such as depression and anxiety may lead to chronic pain ? at other times it could be the other way around. When moderate to severe pain persists for months, even years, it starts affecting, mood, sleep, day to day functioning and productivity, causing symptoms of anxiety and depression which may exacerbate the pain.
The Hallmarks of Chronic Pain
- Pain that continues to persist long after the initial cause of the pain is no longer present and/or has been cured; or pain which persists in the absence of any physical signs, as confirmed by a doctor.
- Pain, much more exaggerated than detectable injury, if any. The complaints or description of pain seem much more exaggerated as compared to corresponding detectable injury in the body.
- Minimal or no relief with standard treatment. Chronic pain is not easy to diagnose and very often goes untreated. It also does not respond to standard treatment and often needs a multidisciplinary approach.
- History of doctor hopping – Because Chronic Pain usually goes undiagnosed and individuals suffering from this pain are unable to get any relief, they end up consulting many doctors in a desperate effort to attain relief from their suffering.
- Self Medication – Chronic pain patients will often self medicate and try different pain killers in an effort to relieve themselves from pain.
The urge to end their suffering can make many chronic pain patients drug dependent, apart from the other negative effects this type of pain has on the individual. It is thus important to be alert to the signs and symptoms of chronic pain and get is diagnosed and treated by professionals with the knowledge and equipment to treat chronic Pain.