According to Healthline, about 50 million adults in the US live with varying degrees of chronic pain. The numbers also indicated that more women experience chronic pain than men. Meanwhile, the CDC rated non-Hispanic Caucasian adults and persons above sixty-five as high-risk groups for chronic pain. Chronic pain does not occur in a vacuum. This is because medical research has proven that there is always an underlying cause. These three encompass the top reasons.
- Nerve damage
Nerves are high-performance bundles of biological fibers that transmit messages between the brain and the rest of the body. The human body uses a complex network of nerves that aid body functions. From breathing, and body movements, to sensing pain, these nerves are always at work, whether you’re awake or sleeping. Due to their role in essential body functions, any damage to them can have dire repercussions on the body.
According to specialists, the damage could be sensory, autonomic, or motorial. Each one is defined by specific symptoms and may manifest differently in people. For instance, sensory nerve damage involves the skin, spinal cord, and brain. It is solely responsible for making you feel pain at extreme degrees when nerve damage occurs here. A typical example is chronic back pain. Autonomic damage involves involuntary activities like digestion and heart rate. This causes chronic bowel pain and, sometimes, persistent acid reflux. Lastly, motorial nerve damage attacks voluntary movements and causes pain in the connecting joints.
- Cranial compression resulting in chronic headaches
This usually involves the swelling of the brain tissue due to a prior head injury. However, there is a ripple effect of this compression. In some instances, it leads to further swelling of the optic nerve. When that happens, an eye condition called Papilledema develops. Additionally, it predisposes a person to chronic headaches and sometimes vision problems.
When the problem persists and starts to affect your ability to make out printed letters and words, you may need prescription glasses. If it starts to cause light sensitivity in your eyes, you will still need glasses. Thankfully, you can find reading glasses to fit any style of your choice. Some types can effectively block intense light from penetrating the eyes. A long-term solution may be a microvascular decompression surgery to relieve the pressure in the head and, ultimately, the optic nerve.
- Unregulated blood sugar
It might be a little confusing to connect blood sugar levels to chronic pain. However, according to medical research, uncontrolled sugar levels are detrimental to the body’s arteries and other blood vessels. High sugar in the bloodstream acts like tiny glass shards that scrape the internal parts of arteries. Over time, arteries lose their flexibility due to years of scarring. This ultimately affects overall body function and wellbeing. Diabetes is a chronic health condition affecting about 11.3% of the US population. It is also responsible for causing chronic pain in the hands and feet of people living with diabetes. This is quite different from the tingling sensation people with diabetes often experience. If you haven’t checked your blood sugar levels in a long while but experience these pains, it may be time to seek medical care.
4. Frequent Heart Burn or Digestive Issues
Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest usually caused by food or acid reflux. As many as two-thirds of the population experience heartburn, and some have chronic heartburn, which can signify a deeper, more concerning issue. Chronic heartburn occurs when the esophagus becomes chronically irritated due to acid reflux. You can take medications such as antacids to relieve it or change your diet to foods that are less likely to trigger acid reflux. However, suppose a lifestyle change doesn’t alleviate this chronic pain. In that case, you might want to schedule a doctor’s appointment to figure out what underlying health issues you might have sooner rather than later. For example, you might develop respiratory problems, Barrett’s esophagus, or GERD, which all often lead to esophageal cancer down the line if not given proper treatment. You might even find that you require the halo procedure for Barrett’s esophagus, so it is vital to remain vigilant about your health and go to regular doctor’s visits.