Acute pain is a sudden pain that comes and goes quite quickly. Chronic pain lasts more than three months. Chronic pain has many causes.
A broken bone a long time ago could cause you problems, especially just before a storm. A joint that is failing is very painful.
There are conditions where chronic pain is the first indication that something is very wrong. If you have chronic pain without being able to relate it to an old injury, you should see a doctor.
If you’ve been outdoors, check out the number 5. And if you have the symptoms of number 2, you’re not imagining it, you should go to a neurologist!
1. Nerve damage
Your nervous system connects your brain to the world. Your nerves inform sensations, make your heart beat and allow you to move. Most pain comes from sensitive nerves or damaged motors.
Nerve pain can indicate an autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, drug use or reaction to medication, nutritional deficiencies such as B6 and B12, motor neuron diseases such as ALS, cancer, trauma and infectious diseases. If you have strange chronic nerve pain, see your doctor. It could be your first clue to a dangerous disease.
The first symptom of fibromyalgia is usually pain everywhere that rarely stops. Fibromyalgia is a little-known disease that causes muscle pain, trouble sleeping, fatigue, and pain in sensitive points. Depression, memory problems, headaches and numbness and tingling are common side effects.
Current research indicates that repeated nerve stimulation increases neurotransmitters and sensitizes the brain to pain. The brain overreacts to pain signals. Since the cause of the disease is not clear, treatments can usually only control the symptoms.
Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that create a tumor. Cancer can be very painful. Sometimes the tumor presses on the bones, nerves, and other organs. Some cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, have no symptoms until the tumor is large enough to press on the nerves and cause pain. This is called referred pain. For example, liver cancer often includes pain in the right shoulder.
If you have chronic pain, unexplained weight loss, and fever, you’ll want to see a doctor.
Endometriosis is a very painful condition that only occurs in women. Basically, the tissue that belongs inside the uterus grows outside. The tissue responds to hormones and breaks and bleeds during your period. Blood has nowhere to go and causes inflammation, scarring and injury. Not all women experience pain, but those who do often have excessive pain.
If you have pain during sex or urination, painful menstrual cramps or bowel movements, and abdominal or back pain, talk to your OB/GYN.
5. Lyme Disease
Very small ticks infected with very nasty bacteria transmit Lyme disease while sucking their dinner out of your blood. You may not even notice the tick, but you will notice the resulting infection. Early infection involves headaches, muscle and joint pains, and other flu-like symptoms. As you progress, headaches increase along with severe joint pain and swelling and pains in the hands and feet.
Lyme disease requires special tests to identify yourself. Because it spreads slowly (but steadily) and the early stages mimic the flu, it is often misdiagnosed.
6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a collective term that describes inflamed intestines. It is believed to be caused by the immune system overreacting and causing inflammation and intestinal injury. It comes and goes, so the pain won’t always be present. But abdominal cramps and pain can be debilitating.
IBD appears to have a link to cigarette smoking, the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and possibly a high-fat diet or refined foods. IBD puts you at risk for certain types of cancer, liver damage, and blood clots.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Pain that lasts more than three months is chronic and can be a sign of cancer, tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease or a sign that your immune system is overreacting to stimuli.
Chronic pain is sometimes the only symptom you’ll have before certain cancers, such as liver cancers, are no longer treatable. It’s not fun to live with chronic pain, and identifying and treating the underlying cause can make your life so much more enjoyable and possibly can save your life!