Learning about and understanding your chronic back pain is the first step in learning to live your life in spite of the pain. Chronic pain is different than acute pain. Chronic pain will not go away; it is something that we must learn to live with.
"requires its own set of skills"
Living with chronic pain creates its own set of problems and requires its own set of skills to endure what cannot be relieved.
Chronic back pain is usually defined as pain that you have had for more than three months, that has been evaluated, and has not been relieved by adequate back pain treatments.. This type of pain is often caused by a combination of factors.
"may have limited treatment options"
Many times osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and deconditioning can all contribute to back pain. Post-traumatic pain, fibromyalgia, and failed back syndrome are also common causes of back pain.
Even though some of these conditions and their symptoms may have limited treatment options, it is important to have them evaluated by a professional. That is the only way you can be sure that there is not something more serious going on, and determine the best way to manage the symptoms that you have.
"years of bending and lifting"
Certain conditions and lifestyle choices can contribute to the development of chronic pain. Smoking, diabetes and autoimmune disease can predispose certain people to developing chronic back pain and other symptoms.
A career spent doing manual labor, with years of bending and lifting, can contribute to osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease, in the lumbar spine.
"Injuries may affect the upper or lower back..."
Injuries may affect the upper or lower back and may cause a herniated disc or sciatica. Scar tissue, abnormal motion, and spinal deformity can occur following surgical procedures or trauma such as a motorcycle or auto accident.
Congenital deformities such as scoliosis, lordosis, and kyphosis can cause a lifetime of chronic back pain.
"The pain of fibromyalgia"
There is also another group of back pain patients in which all of the studies are negative and even after multiple exhaustive evaluations no clear diagnosis can be determined. These are often the most frustrated people, as they go from doctor to doctor seeking an explanation for their pain.
The pain of fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat, and very difficult to live with. The precise causes of this type of chronic pain are not well understood, this makes finding an effective treatment complicated. Many people are forced to live with the pain of fibromyalgia, and many more are living with pain that they just don't know what it is.
"neurologic and physiologic changes that occur"
When you have symptoms of chronic pain, there are neurologic and physiologic changes that occur, that require special treatment. Chronic pain causes changes in the way that nerves respond to pain, it changes the signals that the nerves send, and it changes the way that your brain reacts to those signals.
If your back pain has been present for more than three months, and continues after evaluation and treatment by a medical professional, you should consider finding a specialist trained in the management of chronic pain. Because, chronic pain is pain that cannot be cured. It is pain that needs to be managed.