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Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain last months or years and happens in all parts of the body. It interferes with daily life and can lead to depression and anxiety. The first step in treatment is to find and treat the cause. When that isn’t possible, the most effective approach is a combination of medications, therapies and lifestyle changes.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is pain that lasts for over three months. The pain can be there all the time, or it may come and go. It can happen anywhere in your body.

Chronic pain can interfere with your daily activities, such as working, having a social life and taking care of yourself or others. It can lead to depression, anxiety and trouble sleeping, which can make your pain worse. This response creates a cycle that’s difficult to break.

What’s the difference between chronic pain and other pain?

Chronic pain differs from another type of pain called acute pain. Acute pain happens when you get hurt, such as experiencing a simple cut to your skin or a broken bone. It doesn’t last long, and it goes away after your body heals from whatever caused the pain. In contrast, chronic pain continues long after you recover from an injury or illness. Sometimes it even happens for no obvious reason.

Where do people have chronic pain?

Chronic pain can come in many different forms and appear across your body. Common types of chronic pain include:

  • Arthritis, or joint pain.
  • Back pain.
  • Neck pain.
  • Cancer pain near a tumor.
  • Headaches, including migraines.
  • Testicular pain (orchialgia).
  • Lasting pain in scar tissue.
  • Muscle pain all over (such as with fibromyalgia).
  • Neurogenic pain, from damage to the nerves or other parts of the nervous system.
How common is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is a very common condition, and one of the most common reasons why someone seeks medical care. Approximately 25% of adults in the United States experience chronic pain.

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