5 Common Causes of Chronic Pain

Aug 07, 2023
5 Common Causes of Chronic Pain

Pain is generally described as being acute or chronic. Chronic pain lasts for several months beyond what is considered “normal healing,” acute pain is sudden and goes away when the cause is treated or healed. Chronic pain may begin with a specific cause or event, but it is a separate condition. 

The experts at Pain Consultants of Atlanta understand that chronic pain disrupts your life. We treat numerous underlying issues but also address the condition of chronic pain. Whether you have low back pain, knee pain, or some other persistent pain, we have options to help you manage it. This post considers five of the most common causes of chronic pain. 

1. Neuropathy

Neuropathic pain is related to nerve damage or a malfunctioning nervous system; somewhere between 7-10% of people experience it. Neuropathy can result from another condition, such as peripheral neuropathy related to type 2 diabetes. Some other types of neuropathic pain result from: 

  • Alcoholism
  • Amputation
  • Chemotherapy
  • HIV
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Herniated discs
  • Shingles
  • Thyroid problems

Proper management of the underlying condition can help ease neuropathic pain in some cases. A multi-pronged treatment approach is often the most appropriate and provides the best outcomes. You may need to make some lifestyle changes, take medication, or have a procedure such as a stellate ganglion nerve block

2. Arthritis pain

Arthritis is an umbrella term that includes more than 100 separate conditions. Roughly 25% of American adults have severe joint pain due to arthritis, and nearly half of people diagnosed with arthritis have persistent joint pain.

Pain management strategies for arthritis may include a variety of approaches, including lifestyle changes such as weight loss or exercise therapy, medications, or a procedure such as a facet joint injection.  

3. Post-surgical pain

Approximately 10-50% of people who have surgery develop chronic post-surgical pain, and about 10% have severe chronic pain. Chronic post-surgical pain differs from pre-surgical pain and is often related to nerve damage during the procedure. Some surgeries are more likely to lead to chronic post-surgical pain than others. 

Researchers have identified several risk factors, including genetic predisposition, co-existing pain disorders, age and gender, and others. In most cases, treatment includes multiple approaches. 

4. Low back pain

In 2020, the World Health Organization reported that almost 620 million people experienced low back pain. Although not all low back pain is chronic, a significant percentage of people develop it. 

Chronic low back pain can limit your activities, making it difficult to work or even perform daily activities. Our experts can perform diagnostic procedures to understand better why you have low back pain, help you learn self-care techniques to manage your pain and suggest appropriate medications or procedures to manage your pain. 

5. Musculoskeletal pain 

Trigger points are small, tight bands of muscles that don’t loosen and can cause pain at the site of the knot or refer pain to a different area. Trigger points can result from repeating the same motion or from a traumatic injury. 

You may have a decreased range of motion, headaches, pain in your jaw, neck pain, or tinnitus due to trigger points. An active trigger point causes pain even when you’re at rest, and a latent trigger point can weaken your muscles and restrict your ability to move but only cause pain when pressure is applied to it. 

Over-the-counter pain medications, applying heat, massage therapy, and other interventions are the usual first steps in treating trigger points. If those usual treatments don’t help, trigger point injections may be a better solution. 

Get help

Chronic pain can affect every area of your life, and when it’s not managed well, you may begin to feel that your life consists of nothing except pain. Our experts can help you identify the underlying cause of your pain, if there is one, teach you strategies for managing your pain, and offer treatments to make living with chronic pain easier. Schedule your appointment at the most convenient location of Pain Consultants of Atlanta today.