What is chronic pain?
The word “chronic” means “persistent” or “long-term”. Many people take the word to mean “severe”, but this is not necessarily the case. However, many people who attend our service would describe their pain as both persistent and severe. The pain conditions that we see in our clinics are often having a major impact on the lives of our patients.
Most types of pain are associated with injuries of various sorts and those injuries heal and the pain subsides. Many chronic pains too are associated with injuries but not all. It is often difficult to identify exactly what has triggered the pain. Where the pain is linked to an injury, it is as if the healing has taken place but the pain has stayed “switched on”.
Exactly why this happens is still not very well understood by modern medicine. Because of that, many patients have had the experience of being disbelieved or it has been suggested that the pain may be “psychological”. These pains are not psychological but that is not to say that psychological factors are irrelevant. Many find that living with such pains can be very difficult both practically and psychologically.