Acute pain is sudden pain that comes and goes fairly quickly. Chronic pain lasts for more than three months. Chronic pain has a lot of causes. A long-ago broken bone might give you trouble, especially right before a storm. A joint giving out is very painful.
There are conditions where chronic pain is your first indication that something is very wrong. If you are having chronic pain without being able to link it to an old injury, you should go to a doctor. If you’ve been outdoors, check out number 5. And if you have the symptoms of number 2, you aren’t imagining it – you need to head to a neurologist!
1. Nerve Damage
Your nervous system links your brain to the world. Your nerves report sensations, make your heart beat, and allow you to move. Most pain comes from damaged motor or sensory nerves.
Nerve pain can indicate an autoimmune disease like multiple sclerosis, diabetes, drug use or reaction to medication, nutritional deficiencies like B6 and B12, motor neuron diseases like ALS, cancer, trauma and infectious diseases. Have odd chronic nerve pains check out. It might be your first clue to a dangerous disease.
The first symptom of fibromyalgia is usually pain all over that rarely stops. Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood disease that results in muscle pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and painful tender points. Depression, memory issues, headaches, and numbness and tingling are common side effects.
Current research indicates that repeated nerve stimulation increases neurotransmitters and sensitizes the brain to pain. The brain then overreacts to pain signals. Since the cause of the disease is not clear, the treatments generally can only manage symptoms.
Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that create a tumor. Cancer can be very painful. Sometimes the tumor presses on bones, nerves, and other organs. Some cancers, like pancreatic cancer, have no symptoms until the tumor is large enough to press on nerves and cause pain. This is called referred pain. For instance, liver cancer often includes right shoulder pain.
If you have chronic unexplained pain, weight loss, and fever, you may want to consult a doctor.
Endometriosis is a very painful condition that only occurs in women. Basically, tissue that belongs within the uterus grows outside. The tissue responds to hormones and breaks apart and bleeds during your period. The blood has nowhere to go and causes inflammation, scar tissue and lesions. Not all women experience pain, but those who do often have excessive pain.
If you have pain during sex or urination, painful menstrual cramps or bowel movements, and abdominal or back pain, talk to your OB-Gyn.
5. Lyme Disease
Very tiny ticks infected with very nasty bacteria pass on Lyme disease while sucking up a blood dinner. You may not even notice the tick, but you will notice the resulting infection. The early infection involves headaches, muscle and joint pain, and other flu-like symptoms. As it progresses, headaches increase along with severe joint pain and swelling and shooting pains in hands and feet.
Lyme disease requires special testing to identify. Because it is slowly (but steadily) spreading west and early stages mimic flu, it is frequently misdiagnosed.