Chronic pain can feel like a slow torture. It’s an invisible disability, and though it’s not immediately apparent to others, the emotional toll is heavy. Everyday activities can become incredibly difficult, such as going to work, exercising, dressing, or taking a shower.
Pain that continually persists can affect all areas of a person’s life, and unmanaged pain may lead to sleeplessness, hopelessness, depression, and anxiety. If you currently live with chronic pain, it can be a lonely journey. You may feel like no one understands what you are going through.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians live with chronic pain.
Though the intensity of the pain varies from person to person, it’s typically between moderate to severe levels. Research has also found that females, older adults, veterans, and indigenous populations are disproportionately affected by this disability.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain syndrome is a long term pain disorder described as anything that lasts for 3 months or longer. Pain is a signal from our body, telling us that something is wrong. Though it may be normal to experience pain when you are injured or ill. Pain that lasts for weeks, months, or years is not.
An injury that has long since healed – such as from a car accident, serious infection, or surgical incision may be the cause of chronic pain; however, other cases have no apparent reason.
To determine if you do have chronic pain syndrome, doctors will ask questions, investigating what may be the cause and type of pain you are experiencing (dull, sharp, constant, or on and off). Additional diagnostic testing may be ordered such as:
Chronic pain syndrome can be challenging to diagnose because tests, such as MRIs or CT scans, do not reveal a cause for the pain. There is also no way to objectively measure pain, as pain tolerance varies.
If you are currently living with chronic pain, there are a few resources available that can help support you during this difficult time.
Chronic pain can be excruciating! If proven to be the result of a car accident or personal injury caused by someone else’s negligence, injured victims may have a legal right to compensation.