Chronic pain is a common term applied to pain that lasts more than three to six months. Some chronic pain is attributed to a diagnosable health condition; other times the cause has yet to be determined or will remain unknown. Either way, chronic pain can become a lifelong struggle that can become even more frustrating when it is treated unsympathetically as if it is exaggerated or even imagined. The fact is, pain often is the body’s way of communicating to us that there is a real problem.
When Chronic Pain Indicates a Serious Problem
If you have long-term pain in the following areas, it could be indicative of a greater problem:
- Rotator cuff injury, arthritis, tennis elbow, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Radiculopathy, a condition that involves nerve roots in the spine.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Heart disease, which is caused by lack of blood flow to the heart.
- Pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest cavity.
- Costochondritis, an inflammation of cartilage connecting ribs to the breastbone.
- Ulcer or a hiatal hernia.
- Gastroparesis, which is where the stomach empties too slowly into the intestines.
- Osteoarthritis of the facet joints of the spine.
- Vertebral compression fracture.
- Ankylosing spondylitis, an autoimmune arthritis of the sacroiliac joint.
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a fatty plaque build-up in the arteries that reduces blood flow.
- Rheumatoid arthritis and/or gout.
Chronic Pain and Mental Health
When an injury occurs, your body switches on pain sensors that transmit electrical signals along the nervous system to the brain. The brain then processes and interprets these signals and generates the sensation of pain.
Usually, the signal stops when the pain is resolved – that could be with treatment, rest, or medication. With chronic pain, however, nerves can continue to send out signals, even after healing has occurred.
Chronic pain can be depressing and frustrating. It can lead to a cycle where one chooses not to participate in desired activities so as not to aggravate the pain, which can lead to depression or even anger which can trigger even more pain.
The bottom line: if you are suffering from pain, you need to see a qualified medical professional to not only work to alleviate the pain, but to get to the root cause of what is creating your pain. To learn more about how Rockville Concierge Medicine addresses chronic pain and other chronic conditions, schedule a complimentary consultation today. Call (301) 545-1811 or get started online