Man with neck and back pain. Man rubbing his painful back close up. Pain relief concept

What Is Chronic Pain Syndrome? 5 Things to Know

From stubbing your toe to the occasional stomach or headache, experiencing pain is a normal and unavoidable part of life.

However, if you find that you’re experiencing pain on a regular basis with no clear cause, there could be something more serious going on. You could have chronic pain syndrome.

But what is chronic pain syndrome? How do you know if you have it? What steps should you take if you’re diagnosed?

To learn the answers to all these questions and more, just keep reading!

1. What is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Pain is your body’s reaction to injury or illness. When the injury heals or the illness passes, so does the pain. Chronic pain, however, doesn’t follow the typical healing pattern.

Instead, you might feel pain for 6 months or more at a time, with or without an obvious cause.

This unrelenting pain takes a mental and emotional toll, as well as a physical one, which leads to chronic pain syndrome. CPS is a combination of chronic pain and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

2. Signs of Chronic Pain Syndrome

Chronic pain affects around 20% of adults in the United States. However, the presence of pain alone isn’t enough to be diagnosed with CPS.

Pain is the first sign, but to have full-blown CPS, it has to be accompanied by other chronic pain syndrome signs such as:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of libido
  • Marital or family issues
  • Career issues

Unfortunately, CPS often also occurs with drug dependence and abuse as a result of overmedicating with pain killers.

3. Causes of Chronic Pain Syndrome

Unlike other chronic conditions such as diabetes, experts aren’t sure of the exact cause of chronic pain syndrome. However, it’s not uncommon for an injury or other painful condition to progress to CPS over time.

For example, those with migraines, arthritis, muscle strains, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, cancer, or even IBS are more likely to develop chronic pain syndrome.

As with many other mental health conditions, CPS is compounding. Chronic pain syndrome triggers negative feelings, which worsen the pain, which worsen your mental state.

4. Chronic Pain Treatment

If you suspect that you have chronic pain syndrome, don’t give up hope, because there are a variety of treatment options for you. Those with CPS will first need to visit either their primary care doctor or a specialist who deals with their specific condition.

You’ll then be recommended a course of treatment including physical therapy, counseling, relaxation techniques, epidurals, surgery, or a combination of multiple treatments.

5. Coping With Chronic Pain

Dealing with chronic pain is difficult. If you break your arm, you know that it will eventually heal and your arm will be back to normal. With chronic pain, there’s no end in sight, which can be incredibly disheartening.

It’s important to do all you can to fight these feelings, however, as they will only worsen your CPS. Do what you can to minimize stress, improve your diet, get regular exercise, and surround yourself with positive, supportive people.

It might not feel like it now, but the healthier your lifestyle is, the less power your CPS will have over you.

Learn About Chronic Pain to Get Your Symptoms Under Control

The first step to finding relief from any condition is to learn everything you can about it. Knowledge is power, and if you know the causes of your pain, you’re better equipped to find effective solutions.

Now that you no longer have to ask “what is chronic pain syndrome?” you can begin to take steps toward feeling better!

Looking for more tips for improving your health? Be sure to check out our blog!