Millions of people in the United States suffer from pain lasting for more than 6 months. The pain can range from mild to debilitating, episodic to continuous, and completely disrupt a person’s life. When people experience chronic pain, pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or even years. All this pain can take a dramatic toll on one’s health and well-being.
What causes chronic pain?
Chronic pain can be triggered by many factors such as nerve damage, chronic inflammation in the blood, poorly healed prior injuries, or wear-and-tear of bones, joints, and tissues from the natural aging process.
One of the most common forms of chronic pain is back, neck, or shoulder pain. It can stem from many different conditions including:
- Years of poor posture and sedentary lifestyle
- Inflammatory diet
- Improper lifting and carrying of heavy objects
- Being overweight (i.e., every 5 extra pounds places 20 additional pounds on the spine and joints)
- Traumatic injuries
- Wearing high heels
What are the symptoms of chronic pain?
Chronic pain symptoms can vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms of chronic pain are:
- Mild to severe persistent pain
- Shooting, burning, aching, sore, stiff, or sharp pain in the affected area
- Limited mobility
- Mood shifts like depression, hopelessness, and fear
- Weakened immune system
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by wide-spread musculoskeletal pain, and often accompanied by extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory impairment, and mood disturbances such as depression and anxiety. In the United States, it is the most common cause of generalized musculoskeletal pain in women between 20 and 55 years. Despite ongoing research on fibromyalgia, the cause, diagnosis, and optimal treatment is still not clear. However, researchers believe that fibromyalgia sensitizes the way the brain processes pain signals, causing one to feel elevated levels of pain than normal. Other theories also suggest genetic causations, high levels of systemic inflammation combined with intra-cellular nutritional deficiencies.
Fibromyalgia is usually triggered after a stressful or traumatic event, such as an infection, injury, accident, an emotional trauma, or previous history of chronic pain.
Its symptoms include:
- Widespread pain
- Cognitive difficulties
- Migraines and headaches
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- TMJ (temporal mandibular junction pain)
- Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome
Lifestyle alterations such as improving sleep quality, anti-inflammatory diets, and personalized movement/exercises are helpful in managing symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Understanding the root cause of chronic pain and fibromyalgia is the most effective way to treat them. By targeting the immune system and knowing how to lessen the chronic inflammation, the pain can be resolved.
Call our office today to find the right personalized treatment to address your chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Specialists such as integrative physician, Dr. Bhandari M.D., acupuncturist Andrew Castellanos, and yoga therapist Elaine Oyang will best guide you on how to effectively treat and possibly reverse your chronic discomfort.