What is chronic pain?
Pain that persists for more than three months is referred to as chronic pain. This is different from the normal sensation initiated in the nervous system that tells your body that something is wrong. Chronic pain may be initiated in any part of the body. This pain can range from a very mild sensation to severe forms, which may affect normal day-to-day activities. Chronic pain is very common in old age but it is not a normal part of the aging process. Most of the older adults have long-term conditions, like diabetes or arthritis, that may result in pain.
Causes of chronic pain
The actual cause of chronic pain is still not clear. One of the reasons may be that the brain chemicals that usually stop pain do not work properly. Damaged nerves may also result in chronic pain.
Symptoms of chronic pain
- Mild to bad pain that persists
- Shooting or burning pain
- Soreness or stiffness
Chronic pain can result in tiredness and depression and affect the usual social activities. It can also weaken the body’s immune system leading to infections and illness.
Diagnosis of chronic pain
Details about a past illness and regular physical examination will help in the diagnosis of pain. The underlying medical condition that causes the pain can be found using medical tests. In many cases, the real cause of pain remains elusive.
Treatment of chronic pain
Mild pain and pain that pops up now and then can be treated using the home remedies. Chronic pain can be controlled to a large extent by regular exercise, good sleep and having a healthy diet. Over-the-counter medications including acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen are also used to reduce the pain. Contemporary therapies like massage and yoga are recommended in some cases. Acupuncture, nerve stimulation and surgery are other options for alleviating pain. Combination of treatments is helpful in most of the cases.