WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?

CHRONIC PAIN IS A MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE

In fact, chronic pain should be considered an illness in its own right and not just a symptom of other medical problems.

Everyone is familiar with pain after an injury but pain that persists and does not go away can be a much more difficult problem to manage. This is also known as chronic pain.

Sufferers with chronic pain like this know that it can be frustrating, baffling and exhausting especially when they are told that the ‘scans are normal’ and ‘the pain is in your head’.

CHRONIC PAIN IS COMMON

In 2007, around 3.1 million Australians (1.4 million males and 1.7 million females) were estimated to experience chronic pain. These figures do not include children and adolescents, who can also suffer from chronic pain.

BUT IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS

Just as the brain and nervous system can change to trigger a chronic pain state these changes can often be reversed with the right combinations of treatment, like opening a safe lock using a unique combination. And the first step in opening that lock is understanding of what is going on and understanding more about chronic pain.

Acute pain that happens after an injury is a helpful way of our bodies telling us that we have damage that need to get fixed and to rest until we have healed. Normally this pain goes away as you heal. However, for some people the pain persists and can even get worse and amplified even after the injury has repaired and healed.

This chronic pain is due to a pain signalling system that is constantly switched on. Not only is it constantly switched on, but it can also become amplified and made more severe. Pain is then felt throughout the day and night and is often increased despite little apparent effort. No wonder that chronic pain is physically and emotionally exhausting!

Anyone can develop chronic pain and it seems to be partly due to the type of injury and partly due to genetic factors that make it more likely in certain people. Chronic pain can also occur during or after treatment for cancers.

WATCH UNDERSTANDING PAIN IN LESS THAN 5 MINUTES (VIDEO)

Watch this video to understand the changes that are occurring in your body if you're suffering form chronic pain.