The nature of chronic pain
We all occasionally experience physical pain as a normal part of life – either as a result of injury, accident or illness. It is important to understand that pain serves as a natural purpose in letting us know that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.
However, there is major difference between acute pain and chronic pain. According to the US National Institutes of Health: “Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury.”
The effect of chronic pain – which may persist even in the absence of an obvious underlying cause – is that individuals may face debilitating discomfort for long periods that can last for many month or years.
Understanding chronic pain
Many clients with chronic pain can be helped if they understand the causes of their continued discomfort and the various measures that can be taken in order to lessen or alleviate the problem.
Unlike acute pain, which is a sensation triggered in the central nervous system for a specific period, chronic pain occurs when the brain continues to interpret that it is receiving pain signals of a persistent nature.
The pain felt by the individual person continues to be very real, but it may or may not be related to physical injury or illness. Instead, it can be of a psychogenic nature (pain which is not due to past illness or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system).
The causes of chronic pain
Whilst there may sometimes have been an injury or disease that initially contributed to the problem, the underlying causes of why chronic pain continues to exist can also be due a wide range of other factors.
These causes can include emotional distress, biochemical imbalances or damage to the central nervous system itself. At The Kusnacht Practice we aim to help clients to identify the underlying cause of the condition in order to provide effective treatment, which may involve physiological or psychological therapies. For details please contact us.
Useful links / sources
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke