If you have discomfort that is ongoing and has lasted for weeks, then you may be dealing with chronic pain. Chronic pain is often associated with an illness or injury that has healed, but the pain lingers.
The purpose of pain is to let the brain know that something is wrong in the body. Chronic pain is abnormal, but it affects approximately 20% of adults in the United States. It is most often associated with the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, joints, and bones. Chronic pain can also be a result of an underlying autoimmune condition or nervous-system disorder.
Common Types of Chronic Pain
Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of chronic pain and what you can do about it:
One of the areas in the body where chronic pain is often exhibited is in the back, most frequently in the lower back. Though chronic back pain is often associated with injury, it can also be the result of a disease-related injury such as arthritis.
Back pain is the leading cause of disability and missed workdays in the United States. The most common reasons for chronic back pain include:
- Spinal stenosis
- Bulging/slipped disc
- Spinal fracture
- Structural issues (e.g., scoliosis)
- Soft-tissue damage
- Compression fractures due to osteoporosis
Painful headaches that last for about two weeks every month are considered chronic headaches. Tension headaches, which are brought on by stress or fatigue, can become chronic in nature.
Also, headaches that result from constant eyestrain, migraines triggered by hormones, and issues within the nervous system can be tied to chronic head pain. Enlarged blood vessels can be the underlying cause of cluster headaches, which can be ongoing.
Chronic pain commonly accompanies arthritis. Two of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:
Osteoarthritis, also often called just “arthritis,” is when the cartilage in a joint has worn down due to wear-and-tear. The loss of the protective cartilage in arthritis causes the bones in the joint to rub against each other and cause chronic pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is chronic inflammation due to an autoimmune disorder. The condition is exhibited mostly in the joints of the hands, wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, and feet. It also spreads to other areas of the human body, such as the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and it extends from the lower back all the way down to the feet through each leg. That is why sciatica normally affects only one side. When the sciatic nerve is compressed, often because of a herniated disc, it can cause chronic pain in the lower back, hip area, and leg.
Pain Doctors in Austin
Chronic pain can be debilitating, both physically and emotionally. Weeks and months suffering from chronic pain can leave you feeling depressed, which is one of the most important reasons why you should seek treatment from a medical pain specialist.
Managing chronic pain is possible. Our medical team here at Balcones Pain Consultants will address your painful symptoms so that you won’t have to live with chronic pain. There is hope.
To schedule an appointment with one of our caring pain doctors, call us today at (512) 834-4141 or request an appointment now via our online form. We are conveniently located in the plaza at the western end of Camino Real, and we look forward to seeing you here.