Chronic Pain - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Chronic pain is a condition that affects your muscles and bones and causes widespread musculoskeletal pain. It is accompanied by emotional disturbances, sleep and memory issues, and fatigue.

What causes chronic pain?

The exact cause of chronic pain is unknown. However, some risk factors that predispose a person to get it are;

Causes for getting chronic pain:

Sex: women are more likely to get chronic pain.

Age: chronic pain can affect people of any age group, but it is more common in middle-aged people.

Stress: Stressful or traumatic events and post-traumatic stress disorder increase the likelihood of getting chronic pain.

Illnesses and diseases: Some diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and viral infections increase the risk of getting chronic pain.

Genetics: Having a positive family history of chronic pain increases the risk of getting it as it tends to run in families.

Autoimmune association: chronic pain is found to be associated with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, etc. Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the immune cells of your body create antibodies against its cells mistaking them for foreign cells like bacteria. This causes damage to the body's cells. chronic pain’s association with autoimmune diseases proposes that the disease itself could have an underlying autoimmune etiology. However, the claim is not yet proven. 

Symptoms of chronic pain:


The main symptom of chronic pain is widespread pain in the body. Your muscles may feel tight and stiff and there may be a feeling of a consistent dull ache in your body which usually lasts more than 3 months.


There is a feeling of fatigue in patients having chronic pain. This may affect sleep and there may be other sleep disorders accompanied with chronic pain too, such as restless leg syndrome.

Mood disturbances: 

There may be mood disturbances and feelings of anxiety, depression, or nervousness in patients with chronic pain.

Other symptoms:

  • Headaches

  • Dry mouth, nose, and eyes

  • Pain in the face or jaw

  • Bloating

  • Constipation

  • Abdominal pain

  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet

How is chronic pain treated?

The treatment of chronic pain is generally aimed at :

Pain relief:

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are prescribed to control pain.

Muscle relaxants:

Muscle relaxant drugs are prescribed to reduce muscle stiffness and feeling of pain.


Antidepressant drugs help in sleeping better and reduce the feeling of fatigue.

Lifestyle changes for managing chronic pain:

Other than medications, your doctor may also advise lifestyle changes to help manage chronic pain and reduce its symptoms:


Regular exercising is advised for patients with chronic pain. Exercise helps better the pain and helps you sleep well. There are a variety of exercise options that you can choose to do daily, such as yoga, aerobics, pilates, walking, etc.

Stress management:

Stress increases the risk of chronic pain and worsens the symptoms. It is advisable to manage stress by doing meditation, yoga, massage, etc. If these things do not help you, you can talk to a therapist to help you cope with the stresses in your life. 


Chronic pain can affect the quality of your life. It can hold you from working at your fullest potential, and it can also affect your relationships as your mood is disturbed. However, with proper treatment and lifestyle modifications, chronic pain can be managed and can help improve the quality of your life. It is advisable to control your stress levels. Keep in mind a stress-free life means a healthy life!

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Ms. Naila Kanwal


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Ms. Maryam Hina


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Mr. Rizwan


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