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About Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a persistent pain that adversely affects your well-being, level of function, and quality of life. It can be the result of an injury or infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain.

Definition

Chronic pain is ongoing or recurrent pain lasting longer than the time of normal healing for an illness or injury, or more than 3 to 6 months.1

Causes

Chronic pain can result from an injury; surgery that may have caused nerve damage; spinal conditions such as degenerative disc disease; or other causes.

Symptoms

Symptoms of chronic pain can range from mildly uncomfortable to completely disabling. You may feel a sharp or stabbing pain, a burning sensation, or a dull muscular ache. Affected areas may feel tender or sore to the touch and the pain may increase with movement. Often chronic pain is not static. It can change and intensify as you move throughout the day.

Diagnosis

You may have chronic pain if your pain has lasted more than 6 months. Talk to your doctor for more information.


1

Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education, Institute of Medicine, Board on Health Sciences Policy. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2011; page 33. http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13172. Accessed 5 March 2017.


Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.