Chronic pain affects more than 20% of all adults, and 7% struggle with ongoing pain that’s severe enough to stop them engaging in daily life.
If you spend days with chronic pain, you already know that this type of pain resists standard treatments. But that doesn’t mean you have to give in and live with the pain.
The team at Alliance Spine Associates specializes in advanced interventional and regenerative treatments that target the source of your pain, safely and effectively easing your symptoms and helping you return to your favorite activities.
In this blog, we explore what defines chronic pain and five common causes of this challenging problem.
Pain comes from many possible causes, but all types of pain are classified as either acute or chronic. Acute pain occurs right after you suffer an injury, develop an illness, or undergo surgery. This type of pain goes away as the underlying cause heals.
Chronic pain lasts at least 3-6 months or stays around long after the problem heals. You may have long-lasting pain from a chronic health condition like arthritis. Or you could end up with chronic pain following an acute injury.
Severe acute pain that lasts too long changes your nerves, making them hypersensitive. As a result, the nerves persistently relay pain signals, even in response to things that shouldn’t cause discomfort.
Five of the most common causes of chronic pain include:
Low back pain ranks as the top cause of chronic pain, and neck pain isn’t far behind. Chronic low back pain is also the most common cause of disability in adults younger than 45 years. Back and neck pain often arise from overuse injuries, strained muscles, and degenerative diseases such as herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and osteoporosis.
Knee pain is in second place when it comes to the causes of chronic pain. Though you can suffer a sports injury that results in long-lasting knee pain, osteoarthritis accounts for many cases, whether the degenerative condition is age-related or triggered by an injury.
Osteoarthritis develops as cartilage protecting the bones in your joints wears down. The ongoing cartilage degeneration exposes more bone. Then bone grates against bone every time you move the joint. You end up with progressive joint damage and chronic inflammation, pain, and limited movement.
One out of every six adults report chronic migraines and severe headaches. Headaches also place third on the list of most common causes of chronic pain. Migraines begin with overactive nerves that trigger events in your brain, leading to severe headaches and other symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to lights, sounds, and odors.
Neuropathy, a generic name for nerve damage, arises from many possible causes and in most cases, leads to chronic pain. Of all the causes, diabetes accounts for more cases of neuropathy than any other root cause. Nerve damage occurs when your blood sugar stays above normal levels. You’re most likely to have chronic pain in your feet, legs, and hand.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes bodywide muscle and joint pain. In addition to ongoing pain, people with fibromyalgia experience extreme fatigue that doesn’t improve with sleep. You may also have tingling or burning sensations in your arms and legs, headaches, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating (commonly called fibro fog).
No matter what causes your chronic pain, you don’t need to put up with it. Even if you already tried medications that didn’t help, our experienced team creates customized pain management plans that draw from a wide range of interventional and regenerative treatments.
If you have chronic back or neck pain that doesn’t improve with conservative care, our skill and expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery can repair the underlying problem and deliver significant pain relief.
If you need help for chronic pain, call Alliance Spine Associates right away or book an appointment online today.