What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is more common than most people can imagine, affecting people of all ages and stages in life.
Chronic pain is defined as continuous and long-term pain lasting for more than 12 weeks.1 Chronic pain can persist for months or even years and can be very difficult to treat.2
Chronic pain can occur anywhere in the body, with back pain being the most commonly reported location.3
It may follow an illness or an injury that appears to have healed or may develop for no apparent reason.
Abandoned hobbies. Strained relationships. Damaged careers.
Pain can steal much of what makes you YOU.
Acute vs chronic pain
There are 2 main categories of pain – both of which can be mild, moderate, or severe:
Acute pain occurs immediately after an injury – such as a burn or broken bone – or an invasive medical procedure, including surgery or dental work.
It typically lasts no longer than two months when treated properly.
Chronic pain is any type of persistent pain that lasts six months or longer.
It’s difficult to treat because no two people experience pain the same way.
Individuals who seem to have the same kind of pain may need different treatments.
Chronic pain can occur anywhere in the body. It may follow an illness or an injury that appears to have healed or may develop for no apparent reason. Common types of chronic pain include back pain, headaches, arthritis, cancer pain and neuropathic pain.
Chronic pain can be divided into two classes: nociceptive and neuropathic.3
- Everyone will experience nociceptive pain at some point, and it includes such things like cutting yourself, a burn or an injury.7
- Neuropathic pain is caused by a problem with nerve pathways, which means the way that the nerve sends pain messages to the brain is affected. It is often described as numbness, tingling or like an electric shock.7