Analysis of Chronic Pain and Its Symptoms

Analysis of Chronic Pain and Its Symptoms

This research paper will critically analyze chronic pain; the different causes of it, the symptoms, the management and how it can impact individually physically, mentally and behaviorally. The paper will use multiple different peer reviewed articles to support claims made by the writer within the content of this paper. The writer uses the literature provided on chronic pain to analyze, critique and draw overall conclusions about the relationship between chronic pain, health, and behavior. While also explaining that even pain medication does not always help and how pain is an individualized perception. More information on these general topics and more can be found and explored throughout this essay. Analysis of Chronic Pain and Its Symptoms


Chronic pain is an epidemic that continues to become a growing issue in society today, that according to Ramage-Morin and Gilmour (2015) affects nearly 1.5 million people with increasing numbers each year. Chronic pain is defined as an unpleasant sensation that can range from mild to localized discomfort to agony, pain has both physical and emotional components. The physical parts of pain results from nerve stimulation or potential tissue damage. The differences between acute pain and chronic pain is the fact that chronic pain persists or progresses over an extensive period typically 12+ weeks. Pain can be expressed in multiple different ways; throbbing, pinching, stabbing, or aching feeling. Pain is not only defined as a sensation or physical awareness, but also entails an individualized perception. Pain is an unpleasant and an uncomfortable emotion that is transferred to the brain by sensory neurons. There are various kinds of pain and how one perceives or interprets them is varied due to different levels on pain tolerance in different individuals. For example, we typically will ask patients “how do you rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10?” but, how one person perceive pain at a 10 level, and another can vary greatly. Typically, we treat all types of pain the same, usually by prescribing a type of pain medication, however there is physical and psychological therapy that can help, and many individuals choose to decrease pain in their own ways like using drugs, alcohol or other substances. The exact cause of chronic pain is unknown and is not the same in every patient but some medical conditions that have chronic pain as a side effect can include; diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, surgical trauma, osteoarthritis, cancer, and shingles. Again, chronic pain can be different in everyone and can affect people very differently but some common side effects include; joint pain, muscle aches, burning pain, fatigue, sleep problems, loss of stamina, mood problems, irritability, guilt, job loss and suicidal thoughts.Analysis of Chronic Pain and Its Symptoms


Health and Pain

Pain affects health but most people are unaware of to what extent does constant and persistent amounts of pain affect bodies overall physical and mental health (Apkarian, 2008). The body reacts to pain in numerous different ways including but not limited to; cardiovascular system, nervous system, autonomic nervous system, central nervous system, sympathetic nervous system and immune system. Chronic pain affects everyone very differently and everyone reacts to pain differently especially to constant and persistent amounts of pain, they become numb to it (Bastian, Jetten, Hornsey, & Leknes, 2014). The effects chronic pain has on somebody’s cardiovascular system is like experiencing chronic stress which in turn leads to increased blood pressure and heart rate (Lamana, Miranda, Tobaldini, Fischer, & Tambeli, 2018). Which also leads to increased arousal level which makes it hard to revert to homeostasis (Lamana, Miranda, Tobaldini, Fischer, & Tambeli, 2018). The effects chronic pain has on the autonomic nervous system when in pain your sympathetic system (fight or flight) is on high alert for an extensive period and their parasympathetic system (rest and digest) is being suppressed for an extensive period of time (Hamunen, Kontinen, Hakala, Talke, Paloheimo, & Kalso, 2012). With our systems/parts of our bodies if you do not use them you will lose them, which in turn means that if you constantly suppress your parasympathetic system then eventually you will not be able to activate it anymore (Hamunen, et al., 2012). Chronic pain also greatly affects our immune system, which oversees protecting the body against illness/disease and notifying the body when it’s in pain/ trying to protect it from the pain (Totsch & Sorge, 2017). But when you are in a constant state of pain your body might not be able to fight off any diseases/illness and you are more subjectable to getting sick (Totsch & Sorge, 2017). Also, if your always in pain then if you get a minor injury, your body typically would not be able to register it, or let the body know about it. Therefore, sometimes injuries go unnoticed in chronic pain individuals (Totsch & Sorge, 2017).Analysis of Chronic Pain and Its Symptoms

Pain and Behavior

There are many different social consequences of chronic pain like; peer relationships, work relationships, spousal relationships and parent-child relationships (Kayali & Tekin, 2019). Some difficulties with peer relationships include fewer friends (specifically reciprocal relationships), lower social support, more secluded from society and are most likely to be victimized compared to people living without chronic pain (Sturgeon, Dixon, Darnall, & Mackey, 2015). Individuals with chronic pain also experience similar feelings including depression, sadness, social exclusion, anxiety, generalized fear, anger and loneliness (Lamana, Miranda, Tobaldini, Fischer, & Tambeli, 2018). When it comes to work relationships individuals with chronic pain tend to be absent from work more than other people which usually strains the relationships between co-workers, this also tends to make managers suspicious and wary about these individuals taking days off and could have some negative consequences as well as having job insecurity (Macpherson, Elliot, Hopton, Lansdown, Birch & Hewitt, 2017). Because chronic pain is not usually physically noticed then most people will just be convinced that these individuals are lazy, unreliable, and slackers (Hadjistravropoulos & Craig, 1994). The impact of chronic pain on spousal relationships can be very detrimental to the stability of the individual’s relationship which includes but is not limited too; financial insecurity/strain, unemployment, sexual dysfunction, mood alternations/depression, and altered social roles and responsibilities (Sturgeon, Dixon, Darnall, & Mackey, 2015). There are many challenges of social relationships related to chronic pain which includes but is not limited too; contagion of suffering, compassion fatigue, stigmatization, reduced participation in social activities, impaired interpersonal functioning, loss of social roles/social identity, and difficulties connecting with others (Burns, Post, Smith, Porter, Buvanendran, Fras, & Keefe, 2019). The impact of chronic pain on parent-child relationships includes; greater incidence of pain complaints, poorer physical/psychological function and worse family functioning (Higgins, Birnie, Chambers, Wilson, Caes, Clark, Lynch, Stinson, & Campbell-Yeo, 2015). Chronic pain also has a lot of negative effects on one’s quality of life which includes but is not limited too; sleep, function, and depression (Fujii, Oka, Katsuhira, Tanosu, Kasaharam Tankaka, & Matsudaria, 2018). Chronic pain does not just hurt your body it can hurt your emotions as well and can impact your; mood, memory, relationships and overall quality of life (Fujii, et al., 2018). Although chronic pain is one of the most common medical complaints, but despite its prevalence many individuals still suffer with unrelieved or undertreated pain (Suso-Ribera, Martinez-Borba, Martin-Brufau, Suso-Vergara & Garcia-Palacios, 2019). The medical system tries to just prescribe pain medication to relive long term pain but there are many negative side effects of prescribing pain medication on individuals like addictions and dependency (Macpherson, Elliot, Hopton, Lansdown, Birch, & Hewitt, 2017).


Chronic pain affects every individual differently, everybody differently and the behaviors experienced due to pain is different for every individual (Hadjistravropoulos & Craig, 1994). It seems form a medical standpoint that they just treat chronic pain which pain medication which gives a higher chance of getting an addiction (Macpherson, et al., 2017). It would seem that although chronic pain has a lot of extensive health consequences but it would seem that somebody with extensive chronic pain would experience more behavioral affects and this would have a greater impact on their quality of life and give them a higher risk of getting diagnosed with anxiety or depression (Fujii, Oka, Katsuhira, Tanosu, Kasahara, Tanaka, & Matsudaria, 2018).Analysis of Chronic Pain and Its Symptoms

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