What is Chronic Pain?

by. Dr. Rita Vivera Pane Sp. KFR (K) - Neuro Rehabilitasi
29 August 2022
What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is a broad term, often described as pain that lasts more than three to six months or pain that is complained of despite good examination results and investigations. Some forms of chronic pain can be found with an identifiable cause, such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis. While there are other pains that have no known or known cause, such as fibromyalgia or neuropathic pain (nerve pain). Fighting chronic pain is a lifelong struggle for many.

All about Neuropathy and Chronic Back Pain

Neuropathic pain is different from other types of pain. If a person breaks a bone, pain signals are carried through nerves from the trauma site to the brain. However, with neuropathic pain, the pain signals come from the nerves themselves.

How Neuropathic Pain Develops

In many cases, nerves become damaged or malfunction after responding to injury or trauma, causing hypersensitivity to pain. The nerves then send out the wrong pain signal even the injury has healed. Initial injury can occur in the peripheral or central nervous system.

Neuropathic pain is a chronic condition, which means it doesn't go away. On the other hand, pain that is complained of for a long time becomes a disease process in itself. The terms sensory peripheral neuropathy and peripheral neuritis are sometimes used to describe neuropathy that affects the peripheral nerves.

An estimated 7 to 10% of people experience neuropathic pain. This article looks at neuropathy and chronic back pain and how the two conditions are related.

When Back Pain Causes Neuropathy

Neuropathy can result from any type of pain pressing on or impinging on nerves. A herniated disc, for example, can press on a nerve at a time, causing pain. Neuropathic pain that originates in the back or spine may include:

*Chronic pain that radiates to the legs (lumbar radiculopathy, or sciatica)

*Chronic pain radiating to the arm (cervical radiculopathy)

*Pain after back surgery gradually and continues, this is commonly called failed back surgery syndrome

Diabetes and regional pain syndromes are common causes of neuropathy. Additional causes include injury, illness, infection, exposure to toxins, and substances. The cause cannot always be determined.

Why Early Treatment Is So Important

Early treatment is important, as more aggressive treatment may be needed if symptoms are not treated promptly.

Over time, exposure to significant pain can cause changes in the central nervous system that make the body more sensitive to even light touch—a phenomenon known as central sensitization.

Like other chronic types, delaying treatment can also make other health problems more likely. Depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and the inability to work and take part in other activities are some of the health problems associated with untreated neuropathy.

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