Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is conservatively defined as pain that persists for three months or longer. It is also described as pain that persists beyond the usual course of an acute disease or healing of an injury. Chronic pain is sometimes referred to as refractory pain, or pain that is resistant to treatment or cure, or unresponsive to attempts at management. The term "refractory pain" is also used to describe pain that continues or worsens despite attempts at treatment.

Chronic pain may manifest as heaviness in the body or extremities, numbness, tingling, or a deep, low-grade ache, heat, or throbbing sensation. Chronic pain may oscillate between minor and major levels of intensity with no apparent triggering causes or events. The level of pain may be low-grade but continuous, or debilitating and life-changing, affecting sleep or commanding one's attention.

Injuries, particularly lifting injuries or strains to the lower back or injuries to the knees are common sources of pain. Neck, shoulder, arm, and hand pain can be attributed to poor posture, non-ergonomic workstations, and repetitive motions. An injury that begins with acute pain, but which is slow to heal or is aggravated through constant use may develop into a more chronic injury and result in chronic pain.

Because pain manifests in a myriad of ways, an exhaustive list of symptoms is difficult to articulate. Below is an abbreviated list of common sources or regions in the body where pain often resides.

Common Locations/Sources of Pain

Head Pain

  • Occipital
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN)
  • Headache/Migraine


  • Cervical—neck
  • Thoracic—mid back region between the neck and abdomen
  • Lumbar—low back
  • Coccyx—tail bone region


  • Shoulder/Rotator Cuff
  • Elbow/Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Wrist/Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Hand/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Ankle
  • Foot/Plantar Fasciitis

Regional or Systemic

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Temporomandibular Disorders
  • Chronic Regional Pain Syndromes I and II

Nerve damage, damage to joints from arthritic diseases, cancer-related pain, phantom limb pain, and inflammatory diseases all describe sources of pain, many of which have been effectively resolved either with a cessation, a diminishing, or an improvement in management of the pain syndrome through integrative management techniques.

Begin Your Journey to Wellness with Patients Medical

The effects of chronic pain can range from simple annoyance to debilitating and life-changing. Regardless of where you might find yourself on this spectrum of pain, the practitioners at Patients Medical offer a broad range of pain management therapies derived from modern and ancient traditions in the healing arts. Our integrative approach tackles your pain problem holistically, addressing the mind-body-spirit components of pain to help you manage your pain and live a full, satisfying life.

Begin Your Healing with Patients Medical

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