Chronic Pain Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis

Your body normally reacts to pain, an injury, or illness, so that you can feel it. Basically, it is a warning that something is wrong. When your body heals itself, then you usually stop hurting. But for most of the person, this pain may continue very long after its cause is gone.

When the pain remains long for 3 to 6 months or more than it, then it is known as chronic pain. When you injured day after day, then it may take a toll on your physical and emotional health. Although approx 25 percent of people who are suffering from chronic pain will go on to have a condition called chronic pain syndrome (CPS).

It happens when people have symptoms beyond pain alone, such as anxiety and depression, which conflict with their daily lives. CPS can be hard to manage, but it is not impossible. A mix of treatments such as physical therapy, counseling, and relaxation techniques may help you to relieve your pain and the other kinds of symptoms that come with it.

Most of the pain subsides after a trauma or injury heals or an illness may run its own development. But with the syndrome of chronic pain, pain can remain for several months and even many years after the body heals.

This problem can even happen when there is not any known trigger for such pain. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Trusted Source. Chronic pain is described as remaining anywhere from 3 months to 6 months, and it affects more than 25 million Americans.

What Is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Chronic Pain Syndrome is a normal problem and also a big challenge for health care providers because of its complex nature of poor etiology and poor response to therapy. But with chronic pain syndrome, pain continues for months and even one or many years after the body heals.

It can even occur when there’s no prompt for Chronic pain. Facing pain in your body is quite normal. Pain is a normal reaction of our body to an injury or illness. It is a warning that something is wrong in your body. When your body starts healing, you usually stop hurting. 

In an analysis, Around 25% of people with this pain will go on to have a condition called chronic pain syndrome (CPS). It is possible when people have symptoms beyond pain alone, These symptoms include depression and anxiety, which interfere with their daily existence.

According to the research of the “National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health,” chronic pain syndrome is defined as lifelong anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Also, it affects 25 million Americans. Here, we are talking about its causes, symptoms, and Diagnosis.

It helps you to know more about Chronic Pain Syndrome. CPS can be tough to treat, but it’s not unachievable. For dealing with this, you are required to have a mix of treatments like counseling, physical therapy, and relaxation techniques that can help relieve your pain and the other symptoms that come with it.

What Are The Causes of Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Even doctors don’t know exactly about the causes of CPS. It simply starts with any painful condition or injury. Here we define some conditions that cause widespread and long-lasting pain that are, unexpectedly, directly linked to chronic pain syndrome. Some of these conditions are:

  • Arthritis and other joint problems
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • Repetition in stress injuries, when the same gesticulation over and over again, it puts strain or tightness on a body part
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Damaging Nerves
  • Lyme disease
  • Broken bones
  • Cancer
  • Acid reflux or ulcers
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Endometriosis, when tissue in the uterus grows outside it
  • Surgery
  • Osteoarthritis

Some other Causes

Conditions that cause widespread and long-lasting pain are, not surprisingly, often linked to chronic pain syndrome. Some of these conditions include:

  • Osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is generally the result of wear and tear on the body and occurs when the protective cartilage between bones wears away.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease that causes painful inflammation in the joints.
  • Back pain. This pain may stem from muscle strains, nerve compression, or arthritis of the spine (called spinal stenosis).
  • Fibromyalgia. This is a neurological condition that causes pain and tenderness in various parts of the body (known as trigger points).
  • Inflammatory bowel disease. This condition causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and can produce intestinal pain and cramping.
  • Surgical trauma.
  • Advanced cancer.

Even when these conditions improve (via medications or therapies), some people can still experience chronic pain. This type of pain is generally caused by a miscommunication between the brain and the nervous system. (For unexplained reasons, some people can encounter this kind of pain without any known triggers.)

Chronic pain can change the way neurons (nerve cells in the brain that transmit and process sensory input) behave, making them hypersensitive to pain messages. For example, according to the Arthritis Foundation, 20 percent of people with osteoarthritis who get their knees replaced (and presumably have no more painful joint issues) will still report chronic pain.

What are the Symptoms of Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Chronic pain syndrome affects both your physical and mental health such as emotions, even your social life over time. While the pain continues, there may be a spread of more intense pain. It happens due to increases in stress or activity.  Some common Symptoms Of CPS include:

  • Unexplainable pain
  • Weakness
  • Rapid muscles pain
  • Concentrate abilities are degraded
  • Insomnia

Some additional symptoms of Chronic pain Syndrome are:

  • joint pain
  • muscle aches
  • burning pain
  • fatigue
  • sleeping issues
  • Losing flexibility and stamina, due to degradation inactivity
  • mood problems, including depression, anxiety, and irritability
  • Feeling very low and tired
  • Irritation
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Guilt
  • Job loss
  • Suicidal thoughts in mind
  • Marriage or family issues
  • Drug or alcohol consumption

Some people with Chronic Pain Syndrome are required to take more and more medicines and pills to manage and deal with their pain, people can make them dependent on these drugs. After some time they are addicted and usually need these medicines to manage their pain.

Risk factors of Chronic Pain

Research shows that some people are more susceptible to chronic pain syndrome than others. They are those with chronic and painful conditions, such as arthritis.

Those who are depressed. Experts aren’t exactly sure why this is, but one theory is that depression changes the way the brain receives and interprets messages from the nervous system.

Those who smoke. As of yet, there are no definitive answers, but experts are exploring why smoking seems to make the pain worse in those with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain disorders. According to the Cleveland Clinic, smokers make up 50 percent of those who seek treatment for pain relief.

Those who are obese. According to research, 50 percent of those who seek treatment for obesity report mild to severe pain. Experts aren’t sure if this is due to the stress extra weight puts on the body or if it’s due to the complex way obesity interplays with the body’s hormones and metabolism.

Those who are female. Women tend to have more sensitivity to pain. Researchers theorize that may be due to hormones or differences in the density of female versus male nerve fibers.

Those who are older than 65. As you age, you’re more prone to all kinds of conditions that can produce chronic pain.

Diagnosis of Chronic Pain Syndrome

Firstly, your doctor will take a thorough medical history.  She will be asked some things to learn more about the type of pain you feel and how long you’ve had it:

  • when your pain started
  • what it feels like (for example, burning and sharp or dull and aching)
  • where it’s located
  • if anything makes it better or worse

Because some conditions can lead and focus on chronic pain syndrome. Even, your doctor provides suggestions and advises to order imaging tests to dispose of if there is joint or tissue damage that may explain your pain. 

For example, your doctor may order an MRI  for you, just to determine if your pain is stemming from a herniated disk, Also an X-ray to see if you are suffering from osteoarthritis symptoms, or a normal blood test to check for rheumatoid arthritis. This all be ordered by a doctor to diagnose the patient in Chronic Pain Syndrome.

Imaging tests can show all the problems either you have joint damage or other critical problems that start cause pain:

  • CT, or computed tomography: It’s a powerful tool, an X-ray that shows the detailed pictures inside your body.
  • MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging: It works with magnets and radio waves to create pictures of your body organs and structures inside you.
  • X-ray: It uses radiation in low doses and starts making images of your body structures inside you.

Without being able to find a direct cause of your pain or the exact reason for your pain — or if they think the pain is unreasonable and can be easily triggered — some doctors will easily dismiss all your symptoms or they can explain to you they are all in your head. It’s hard to be go-ahead when you are feeling low and tired, but keep examining alternative options. If you need advice and suggestions, talk to your doctor about what you think is causing your pain and also ask for the necessary tests and treatments. Working as a team is your best shot at finding relief.

Treatment of Chronic Pain Syndrome

Chronic pain can be complicated or confused, but it is treatable. Some options are included in this:


  • Taking Drugs to relieve pain. These can be anti-inflammatories, steroids, muscle relaxers, antidepressants that also have pain-relieving qualities and, in many cases, opioids (this is the last resort).
  • To increase your body flexibility and range of motion start Physical therapy.
  • Nerve blocks to interrupt pain signals.
  • Psychological/behavior therapy. In the interval, when they may not have a big impact on pain, some psychological therapies show a positive impact on your mood. For example, cognitive behavior therapy (a type of talk therapy that helps you reframe negative thinking) has been shown to be effective in boosting mood, even up to a year after treatment ends. In another study, biofeedback was helpful in minimizing your muscle tension and depression and also started improving coping with chronic pain. 

“Biofeedback is one of a type of therapy which teaches you how to use your mind to control all your bodily reactions such as rapid breathing”.


  • Acupuncture: According to the study, acupuncture reduces pain levels in 50 percent of people who are trying several times to reduce it, as compared to those people who come under 30 percent pain reduction, and did not receive acupuncture.
  • Hypnosis: According to research reports, 71 percent of subjects with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) notice much-improved symptoms in peoples after a course of hypnosis. These effects stretch up to five years post-treatment.
  • Yoga: Yoga helps to relax your body muscles, encourages deep, healthy breathing and increases mindfulness. These all benefits show that yoga can be beneficial in reducing the depression, irritation and anxiety that comes with chronic pain, thus it also improves your quality of life.


Some important and useful tips for Chronic pain suggested by the American Psychological Association are

  • Start Focusing on the positivity in your life.
  • Be engaged. Don’t withdraw yourself from family and friends or activities you enjoy and are still able to perform.
  • Participate in most support groups. Your doctor or local hospital may be able to refer you to one.
  • Seek help, both psychological and physical. And remember, if you feel your doctors are scathing of your pain, keep searching. Compassionate health professionals are out there. Ask friends for recommendations and contact support groups, health organizations dedicated to a particular disorder, and local hospitals for referrals.

Chronic pain vs fibromyalgia

Chronic pain: While chronic pain syndrome and fibromyalgia often coexist, they are two different disorders. Chronic pain syndrome often has an identifiable trigger, such as arthritis or injury from a broken bone that doesn’t heal properly.

Fibromyalgia: This is a disorder of the nervous system characterized by muscle and joint pain and fatigue often arises without a known cause. If you looked at an X-ray, you wouldn’t find tissue or nerve damage. Fibromyalgia does, however, impact the way nerves sense and relay pain messages. Even when treated, the pain of fibromyalgia can still be chronic (thus leading to chronic pain syndrome).

Managing Your Chronic Pain Syndrome

When you do not feel well, managing chronic pain can be difficult. Emotional stress can make the pain even worse. It can be hard to work, and you may consider the possibility of receiving disability benefits. However, research this carefully.

The Social Security Administration has very specific requirements you must meet before benefits are paid out. In the meantime, the American Psychological Association suggests these tips for dealing with chronic pain:

Focus on what is positive in your life. Be engaged. Do not retreat from family and friends or activities you enjoy and can still perform. Participate in support groups. Your doctor or local hospital may be able to refer you to one.

Seek help, both psychological and physical. And remember, if you feel your doctors are dismissive of your pain, keep searching. Compassionate health professionals are out there. Ask friends for recommendations and contact support groups, health organizations dedicated to a particular disorder, and local hospitals for referrals.

Understand A Few Points Related To Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain makes day-to-day life difficult. It touches every single part of my life, from hygiene to cooking, to relationships, to sleeping. We have been living with chronic pain since kindergarten. If you also live with that four-letter word as your constant companion, you will probably relate to these 12 things all too well.

You never know how you will feel in the morning. When you live with chronic pain, every day is an adventure. That goes double for the start of the day. We never know how much pain we will wake up with or how it will change throughout the day.

People do not seem to understand what chronic means. Loved ones often mean well when they tell us things like, Hope you feel better soon. The reality is, the pain does not stop, so it is hard to know what to say.

Have you tried? Again, people mean well and want to help. That said, we see professionals get help with our pain conditions and, more often than not, do a lot of research ourselves. We know our bodies best. If we’re sharing frustrations, it’s usually because we want empathy more than strategy.

Some days are easier than others. we have been dealing with varying levels of pain every single day for the last 23 years. Some days are a lot easier. Other days are an absolute struggle fest.

You when asked questions like, Do you have any pain today? Going to the doctor is a fairly regular experience for us. When you go, they will ask if you have any pain and where it is, either verbally or on a form. I can never avoid laughing at this question. I usually feel bad when I do. I know the person asking isn’t doing it out of malice or a lack of understanding, but because they have to ask.

Doctors without pain don’t always understand. Healthcare providers are amazing people. They do some of the most difficult jobs in the entire world. That said, there’s a lot that’s misunderstood about pain. Some of the more common misunderstandings are that younger people can’t have chronic pain, and strong medications will always lead to addiction.

Managing pain is more than pills. Patches, kinesiology tape, exercises, meditation, self-care. These are all a part of the chronic pain toolbox. We often try a lot before moving on to medication, unless we know meds will be the only thing to help the amount or type of pain we’re in.

The relief you feel when painkillers start working. Pain affects so much of our lives, including how we interact with others. When relief starts to hit, it helps to eliminate so many of those symptoms of pain. Heck, we even become productive! We go back to being ourselves instead of someone struggling to survive the day.

Waiting for those medications brings both pain and anxiety. Whether due to clerical errors, insurance requirements, or stigma, waiting for that next dose to help lower our pain is hard. It’s not about a high, but about relief. These medications make it possible for us to participate fully in life.

Still, medications don’t completely remove the pain. Pain is still a constant companion. It’s always with us, even when we’re on medication.

Pain changes everything. Don’t remember much of a life before chronic pain, except running around in oversized T-shirts and eating cereal. Others I know have lived vibrant and expressive lives that chronic pain dulls. It changes how we use our time and energy, what jobs (if any) we’re able to do, and every single relationship we have.

Support is everything for the longest time, we didn’t know anyone else dealing with chronic pain. My great-grandma dealt with it, she but passed away when I was 11. It wasn’t until I was in college that I met others dealing with chronic pain conditions.

It changed so much for me. I began to have an outlet that understood. If I needed to vent about stigma or brainstorm how to communicate my pain to my healthcare team, I had people there. It’s completely changed how I’m able to process my feels around my pain.


I hope all the above-mentioned details are helpful for you. In case of any pain, consult your doctor rapidly. In this writing, we are mentioned all the causes, symptoms and also defined how to diagnose Chronic Pain Syndrome. Somebody pain can be normal, especially if you’ve recently had an injury, illness, or surgery or any other problem. Just take medicine and sleep properly. If it doesn’t stop, or keeps you from doing your daily activities every day. Call your doctor immediately if the pain is intense.

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