Chronic pain – pain that lasts longer than 90 days after a normal recovery period for an injury or illness – affects thousands of people. Chronic pain impacts you mentally, emotionally as well as physically. It also affects the people in your life at home, at work and at play. Family, friends, peers and colleagues may all experience an impact when you are suffering from chronic pain.
Chronic pain may result from a specific condition or injury. Or, it may present itself over time with no apparent source, slowly infiltrating your life. The pain may be constant or intermittent, dull and aching or sharp and piercing. It may be localized to a specific part of your body or it may spread throughout a region or even your entire body. Treating chronic pain with the usual pain relieving treatments (medication, massage, rest, relaxation) is generally unsuccessful since it is your pain management system that is having a problem.
One of the challenges of ongoing pain is that it puts your body under additional stress. Your physical systems are strained from the pain and so are your emotional and mental capacities. This emotional stress reveals itself in a variety of ways. If you aren’t getting sufficient sleep or rest because of the pain, you may find yourself with less tolerance for actions or comments by others or yourself. You respond with frustration, anger or possibly violence.