What Are the Most Common Causes of Chronic Pain?

chronic pain, reasons for chronic pain, common types of chronic pain, chronic pain and opioid abuse

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Chronic Pain?

Research indicates that anywhere from 25% to 50% of American adults will suffer from chronic pain at one time or another. Chronic pain is expensive, not only because of the medical costs, but because of the long-term disabilities and lack of productivity that it causes. Often, chronic pain is in conjunction with another medical condition, or the individual might suffer from chronic pain and other health problems as well. There are countless reasons for chronic pain, but here are a few of the more common causes of this debilitating health problem.

Nociceptive Pain

Pain detected either in the soft tissues of the body, such as in the skin or muscles, or in the organs, nociceptive pain is detected by specialized sensory nerves, which are called nociceptors. Detecting painful stimuli, nociceptors send information to the spinal cord and brain, where information is interpreted and then there is a response.

Pain that is nociceptive could be visceral or somatic in nature. Here are some examples of nociceptive pain.

Headaches – There are several different kinds of chronic headaches. To be chronic, it must occur for 15 days a month for at least three consecutive months. Chronic headaches come and go but are usually present. There are three common kinds of headaches

  • Migraines
  • Muscle tension headaches
  • Cluster headaches

Pelvic Pain – This is pelvic pain that isn’t caused by nerve damage. It can be caused by inflammation or an infection. You can have an infection that isn’t in the reproductive organs and still suffer from pelvic pain. Pelvic pain can be caused by the appendix, bowel, or bladder, it could be a result of kidney stones, muscle spasms, diverticulitis, or irritable bowel syndrome. Other causes could be vaginal infections, vaginitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Arthritis – Arthritis is an umbrella term used to refer to a group of rheumatic diseases and similar conditions that cause joint inflammation. In addition to joint pain, it will cause joint swelling and stiffness. Some rheumatic diseases can affect other body parts, such as connective tissues, which are in the skin, muscles, and tendons. Anyone of any age can suffer from arthritis and the pain that it causes. There is not a single disease. Instead, there are more than 100 kinds of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, with only a few of those being well-known. Many forms of arthritis and rheumatic diseases are rare. The CDC expects that by 2030, there will be 67 million people diagnosed with arthritis. It is the leading cause of disability, and 22.7 million adults have limited their activities because of arthritis.

Fibromyalgia – A chronic condition that is characterized by widespread pain that frequently is accompanied by depression, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, digestive and urinary symptoms, and fatigue, fibromyalgia is a disorder in which the pain signals the brain produces are exaggerated, which amplifies the sensation experienced in soft tissues and muscles.

Back pain – Back pain can cause limited movement and various sensations. It can take place anywhere along the spine and any structures that make up the spine, such as discs, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Back pain is categorized in various ways, but it is usually by location. Here are some common causes of back pain:

  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal fractures
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Neck or back sprains
  • Poor posture
  • Bulging discs
  • Persistent pain
  • Degenerative disc disease

Somatic Pain

A kind of nociceptive pain, somatic pain is pain that is detected by sensory nerves in the soft tissues, skin, and muscles. This kind of pain is often easy to locate since sensory nerves are distributed throughout the soft tissue. There are four main kinds of somatic pain:

  • Back pain that isn’t caused by neurological issues
  • Tension headaches
  • Pelvic pain from instability of joints
  • Arthritis

Visceral Pain

Another kind of nociceptive pain is visceral pain. Because sensory nerves in the internal organs aren’t as widespread as they are in the skin and muscles, visceral pain might feel dull and it might be hard to locate, since it might be felt farther away from the actual origin of it. Here are some common causes of visceral pain:

  • Cystitis or bladder pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Prostate pain

 Neuropathic Pain

Also caused by nerves, neuropathic pain isn’t like nociceptive pain. In neuropathic pain, the nerves don’t function as they should. It is caused by spontaneous transmission of pain signals to the brain and spinal cord and nerve disturbances. It can be shooting, stabbing, or sharp pain. Examples of neuropathic pain can be:

  • Sciatica
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Post-mastectomy pain
  • Diabetic neuropathy

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