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What Is Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS)?

According to research done in 2016, 20.4% of people in the United States deal with chronic pain.

If you’re struggling with chronic pain, you might have chronic pain syndrome (CPS).

But what is this condition, and what can you do to help treat it? Keep reading to find out!

What is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

When you’re injured or ill, your body will respond with pain to let you know that something is wrong. When your body starts healing, it’ll stop hurting.

However, some people will still feel pain even when the body is healed. This could last for up to six months, and that’s when it becomes chronic pain. Hurting every single day will eventually take a toll on your physical and emotional health as well.

When you have had chronic pain for over six months, you’re more at risk of getting chronic pain syndrome. That means that chronic pain and mental health issues interfere with your daily life and functioning.

It can be difficult to treat, but it’s not impossible.


If you have chronic pain syndrome, you’ll notice symptoms like pain that’s triggered by an event that normally wouldn’t cause pain. For example, a smell could trigger a migraine in someone.

You’ll also notice that the pain may start suddenly without any trigger. For example, they could have burning feelings in their skin, legs, or mouth, which is common in people who have multiple sclerosis.

If you have sharp pains after an event, you may also have CPS. For example, people who were treated with opioids can develop a response to pain that is very exaggerated.

Other symptoms include psychosocial changes, like fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

You might also notice some burning, tingling, or numbness. This is called paresthesia. Many diabetics who dealt with nerve damage sometimes have this sensation in their feet and hands.


Experts still aren’t sure exactly what causes CPS. It could be a painful injury that starts with something like:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Repetitive stress
  • Strains
  • Nerve damage
  • Broken bones
  • Cancer
  • Lyme disease
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Surgery
  • IBS
  • Inflammation
  • Endometriosis

However, sometimes the roots of CPS are also mental as well. If you have a problem with your glands and nerves that don’t allow you to handle stress well, then you’ll feel pain differently.

Some experts also suggest that it might be a learned response. After you’ve been in pain for a while, your body might start repeating those bad behaviors been when your body has healed and the pain is gone.

If you are already prone to major depression or other mental health conditions, you’re more likely to get CPS. It’s also more common in women.

How to Diagnose It

When you go to chronic pain management doctors, they’ll run some tests to see if you really have CPS.

They’ll ask you some questions, like where you feel the pain. How bad is it on a scale from 1 to 10? How often do you feel the pain?

Does it affect your life? Are you dealing with a lot of stress or anxiety? Do you have any illnesses or had any recent surgery?

After you answer those questions, they may run some tests to figure out what the cause of your pain is. Some common tests include urine, blood, imaging, or spinal fluid tests.

They may also run electromyography tests to see what your muscle activity is like to see if they can figure out if that’s causing the pain.


If you’re diagnosed with CPS, you don’t always have to live with it forever.

There are many different types of treatments out there that could help you get back your life!


Because one of the main factors of CPS is anxiety or depression, sometimes antidepressants can be a good treatment.

Some scientists have discovered that antidepressants can be great for pain that was caused by diabetes, arthritis, strokes, spinal cord injuries, lower back pain, pelvic pain, or migraines.

However, they’re not entirely sure why it works. Some experts think that antidepressants can help cause more neurotransmitters that will reduce the signal of pain being sent to your brain.

If the mental health disorder is causing your pain, then helping to treat that as an underlying cause could also help to relieve your long-term pain.


You might want to true occupational or physical therapy to learn relaxation techniques and to help manage inflammation. Some people also go to a masseuse or a chiropractor.

These people are taught how to manage pain using non-invasive and non-medication methods.

Alternative Treatments

If those treatments don’t work, your doctor might suggest some alternative treatments as well.

Some of those treatments include:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Exercise
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Acupuncture
  • Mindfulness training
  • Art therapy
  • Stress reduction
  • Meditation
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
  • Nerve blocker injections

You’ll be able to talk with your doctor about what treatments would be right for you. However, each person’s CPS is different, and what works for one person may not work for you, so you may have to try different methods to find a solution.

Learn More About Chronic Pain Syndrome

These are only a few things to know about chronic pain syndrome, but there are many more things to keep in mind.

We know that dealing with chronic pain can be damaging to your physical health, but we’re here to help you out.

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