Skip to content

Pain Management Health Center

Font Size

Chronic Pain - What Happens

Whether your chronic pain develops after an injury or illness or on its own, the result is often the same: a cycle of sleeplessness, inactivity, irritability, depression, and more pain.

Chronic pain may be mild to severe. It may come back from time to time over several weeks, months, or years. Exercise, regular massages, and pain-relieving medicines—such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or aspirin—may be enough to manage your symptoms.

Recommended Related to Pain Management

Chronic Pain: New Research, New Treatments

As recently as 20 years ago, people with chronic pain were too often dismissively told that their problem was "in their heads" or that they were hypochondriacs. But in the last decade, a handful of dedicated researchers learned that chronic pain is not simply a symptom of something else -- such as anxiety, depression, or a need for attention -- but a disease in its own right, one that can alter a person's emotional, professional, and family life in profound and debilitating ways. Today, doctors...

Read the Chronic Pain: New Research, New Treatments article > >

On the other hand, you may have constant chronic pain that is severe and needs more than home treatment. Without treatment, chronic pain syndrome (changes in the body caused by long-term pain) can become disabling.

The lives of your family members, friends, or caregivers can also be affected. The people you count on to help you may also need some support. Family therapy or involvement in a caregiver support program may help.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    pain in brain and nerves
    Top causes and how to find relief.
    knee exercise
    8 exercises for less knee pain.
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
     
    illustration of nerves in hand
    Slideshow
    lumbar spine
    Slideshow
     
    Woman opening window
    Slideshow
    Man holding handful of pills
    Video
     
    Woman shopping for vegetables
    Slideshow
    Sore feet with high heel shoes
    Slideshow
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
    man with a migraine
    Slideshow