While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial mishap – a sprained back or serious infection – or there may be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis or cancer.
Common complaints include headache, low-back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself), and psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system).
Medications, acupuncture, local electrical stimulation and brain stimulation, as well as surgery, are some treatments for chronic pain. Psychotherapy, relaxation and medication therapies, biofeedback, and behavior modification may also be used.
Many people with chronic pain can be helped if they understand all the causes of pain and the many varied steps that can be taken to help. If you are suffering from chronic pain, talk with your doctor.
–Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services