topic is for people with chronic pain caused by problems other than cancer. If
you are looking for information on pain caused by cancer, see the topic
Pain that lasts for 3 months
or longer is called chronic. Pain is your body's way of telling you that
something is wrong. It's normal for you to have pain when you are injured or
ill. But pain that lasts for weeks, months, or years is not normal.
Chronic pain can occur anywhere in your body. It can range from being
mild and annoying to being so bad that it gets in the way of your daily
Anyone can get chronic pain. It's more common in older
adults, but it's not a normal part of aging. Older adults are more likely to
have long-term medical problems, such as
arthritis, which can lead to ongoing pain.
The cause of chronic
pain is not always clear. It may occur because brain chemicals that usually
stop pain after you get better from an illness or injury are not working right.
Or damaged nerves can cause the pain. Chronic pain can also occur without a
Common symptoms of chronic
- Mild to very bad pain that does not go away
- Pain that is shooting, burning, aching, or
- Soreness, tightness, or stiffness.
have pain for a long time, it can make you feel very tired and may lead to
It can get in the way of your usual social
and physical activities. You may have so much pain that you can't go to work or
The emotional upset may make your pain worse. And your body's defense
system (immune system) may get weak, leading to lots of
infections and illnesses.
Your doctor can
find out if you have chronic pain by asking about your past illnesses and your
overall health. He or she will also do a physical exam.
have tests to find out if a medical problem is causing the pain. Your doctor
may check for problems with your
nervous system and may order blood tests. He or she
may also ask you questions to check your mood and mental health and to see how
well you are able to think, reason, and remember.
In most cases, test results
are normal. This can make it hard to know the exact cause of the pain. But this
doesn't mean that your pain isn't real.
You can use home treatment for
mild pain or pain that you have now and then. Exercising and getting enough sleep may help reduce chronic pain.