Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Reviewed by Steven Richeimer, MD

Chronic pain is pain that persists more than 6 months. Pain is a very subjective experience, though, so we can't say something as categorical as "All chronic pain patients will feel this way."
It is possible to say that chronic pain takes on many forms. It can be:

Chronic pain can lead to other problems, especially social and emotional ones. Chronic pain may:

A lot of these other problems build off each other, so you may hear the phrase "vicious cycle" when talking about chronic pain. For example: The pain makes it difficult to sleep at night, so you're excessively tired the next day. You don't want to go to work—or do anything else—because you're so tired. Because you aren't as active, you lose self-esteem and start to withdraw even more from your social life.

A cycle like that doesn't have to control your life, though.

To get the best treatment for chronic pain, you have to take stock of how much it's affecting your life—beyond the physical pain. You can't just treat the pain in chronic pain, and your doctor and other medical professionals can help you fully live your life, even with the chronic pain.

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Causes of Chronic Pain