What Does Chronic Pain Look Like?

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Everyone gets aches and pains now and then. But when the pain lasts for six months or more, or is constantly reoccurring, it's considered chronic pain. Chronic pain is different from acute pain, which is your body's normal response to an injury or illness. You feel pain when special sensory nerve cells send signals to your spinal cord and brain.

Once the cause of an injury or illness is treated, the acute pain goes away. But chronic pain doesn't. With chronic pain, pain signals continue to fire in your nervous system for weeks, months, even years. Sometimes people suffer from chronic pain without any previous injury or illness.

If you have chronic pain, you're not alone. At least 100 million Americans experience some form of it. The most common sources are headaches, lower back pain, and arthritis. For many, chronic pain can be debilitating and affect day-to-day living. Talk to your doctor about treatment options, so you can enjoy life and keep the pain to a minimum.