What is Chronic Pain?
Pain acts as a warning to indicate harm, or potential danger to tissues in our bodies. It prevents additional harm by alerting the person to react and remove the source of pain. However, when pain persists or recurs over a prolonged period of time (more than six months), it is said to be chronic. It no longer helps, but hinders, the body. Normal lifestyles are severely restricted, if not impossible.
What causes Chronic Pain?
When we “feel” pain, we are really reacting to certain chemical and electrical signals. These signals are sent from the affected area of our body, through the nerves in the spinal column, to the brain, where we perceive them as pain.
Different Types of Pain
There are two different types of pain: neuropathic and nociceptive
This is important to know because different treatments will work better for each type of pain.
Neuropathic pain is pain that is caused by damage to nerves. It is often felt as a burning or stabbing pain. One example of neuropathic pain is a “pinched nerve”.
Nociceptive pain means pain caused by an injury or disease of the nervous system. It is often an on-going dull ache or pressure. Examples of nociceptive pain include pain from cancer or arthritis.
Some people experience mixed pain, which is a combination of neuropathic and nociceptive pain.
Pain through History
Curious about Pain through History? Click on the link below to gain an understanding about Pain through History……compliments The Enquirer/Randy Mazzola and Mark Wert.
The Facts About Pain
Pain affects MORE Americans annually than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined!
Pain———-76.2 million people, National Centers for Health Stats (2003/2004).
Diabetes—-20.8 million people, American Diabetes Association
Heart Disease—18.7 million people, American Heart Association
Cancer——-1.4 million people, American Cancer Society
Pain of any type is the most frequent reason for physician consultation in the United States.
According to a European Journal of Pain report, chronic pain affects over 19% of the European Population.
Back pain disables as many as 4 million persons in the United States per year.
An estimated 20% of American adults (42 million people) report that pain or physical discomfort disrupts their sleep one night a week or more.
An estimated 46 million adults have been told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.
More than 26 million Americans between the ages 20-64 experience frequent back pain.
The annual cost of chronic pain in the United States, including healthcare expenses, lost income, and lost productivity is estimated to be $600 billion.
Back pain is responsible for an average of 12% of all sick leave, rivaling the common cold as a leading cause of absenteeism from work.
Back pain results in the loss of more than 100 million work days each year.
Direct and indirect losses from chronic pain in the United States costs billions of dollars each year.
Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old.
Chronic pain is a major public health problem, and is now of epidemic proportions.
Chronic pain is often associated with such issues as depression, unemployment, anxiety, alcohol abuse, drug addiction, chronic fatigue, and suicide.