When is your pain chronic?
Your pain is chronic if it last for more than a period of six months. Chronic pain is a long-term pain whose nature can vary from mild to excruciating, and it may trouble you either continuously or at short and regular intervals. Chronic pain is so dangerous that it does not only cause discomfort and inconvenience but also robs you entirely of your capacity to work for a long time.
Chronic pain can occur in a number of organs of the human body like head, joints, back, shoulders, neck etc. In fact, pain in any part of your body can turn into chronic pain. Here are a few symptoms that can help you identify if what you are going through is, in fact, chronic pain:
- persistent and severe body pain
- burning sensation accompanied by the body pain
- fatigue and sleeplessness
- weak immune system
- stiff and sore joints
The 4 types of chronic pain disorders that you should be aware of are:
1. Nociceptive pain
The pain that affects the soft tissues of the body such as the skin and the muscles or the organs that have sensory nerves present in them is called nociceptive pain. The sensory nerves, known as nociceptors can detect the stimuli of pain and send information to the brain and the spinal cord for interpretation. The pain could be either somatic (originating in the outer body) or visceral (originating in the internal organs).
2. Neuropathic pain
This pain is caused when the nerves stop functioning normally. It is caused due to nerve disturbances that result in pain stimuli being spontaneously transmitted to the brain and spinal cord. If you are suffering from this type of chronic pain disorder, you will feel a sharp, shooting and stabbing pain. Neuropathic pain can also be caused due to the formation of neuroma (abnormal growth of the nerve tissue).
3. Psychogenic pain
The pain that is caused by psychological disorders like depression and anxiety is known as psychogenic pain. Sometimes this pain can be accompanied by physical complications like fatigue, body pain and muscle weakness.
4. Idiopathic pain
The pain that exists even though there is no physical or psychological cause for it is known as idiopathic pain. This pain is more common in people who have suffered from a pre-existing painful disorder. Some common examples of idiopathic pain are fibromyalgia (intense pain all over the body) and tmj disorders (pain in the jaw area).