Causes Of Chronic Pain

QUESTION: What are the causes of chronic pain?


The causes of chronic pain are as varied as the conditions that include chronic pain as part of their symptoms. The following conditions have chronic pain as part of their list of symptoms: lupus, mixed connective tissue disease, sarcoidosis, Sjogren's syndrome, thyroid conditions such as Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Addison's disease, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.1

Unlike acute pain, such as a cut on the hand, the causes of chronic pain are not always so immediate. Inflammatory responses in joints, such as in rheumatoid arthritis, or in the body, such as in mixed connective tissue disease, produce pain and do not have a single cause.2

Chronic pain can also be part of unresolved injuries or traumas. According to John F. Barnes, P.T. in his book, Healing Ancient Wounds: The Renegade's Wisdom, "Fascia is an incredible tough connective tissue that spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web. When injuries occur, however, the fascia has the ability to reorganize along the lines of tension imposed on the body. As an injury remains unresolved, the reorganization of the fascia becomes more pronounced. Fascial strains slowly tighten, causing the body to lose its normal ability to act and react to its environment. Flexibility and spontaneity of motion are lost, making the body vulnerable to even more trauma, pain, and limitation of movement."3

Trigger points are another cause of chronic pain. They are extremely sore points in the fascia. These cause pain at the end of the range of motion of a muscle. They also weaken the muscle. This perpetuates the cycle of pain. When a muscle is painful and not used as much, the lack of use causes more stiffness and pain.4

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