Any health condition that causes chronic pain is difficult to handle, but research increasingly shows that certain individuals are physiologically more liable to developing chronic pain conditions of any kind, and that the interconnectedness between a few of these conditions could also be greater than yet understood. During the last 20 years, “not one study but tons of of studies” have shown that individuals with chronic pain have physiological differences in the way in which their brain processes sensory information, explains Christin Veasley. Veasley is the cofounder and director of the Chronic Pain Research Alliance and advocates for improved care through more research and academic initiatives. She has served on many federal committees and collaborative alliances, has been a presenter at over 30 medical, research, and policy conferences, and is regularly interviewed for print, television, and radio media.
“To me, that’s been some of the transformative things that has happened during the last couple many years,” says Veasley. “We finally have something definitive to say, ‘I’m not crazy,’ it’s not a weakness or psychological issue—neurologically, individuals who develop these conditions are usually not similar to those that don’t.” Due to this fact, while it could originate within the brain, it’s definitely not “all of their head,” like many patients, especially those assigned female at birth, could have been told in some unspecified time in the future.
This research has identified and begun to research the interrelationship between pain conditions in several areas of the body in addition to other non-pain comorbidities. Overlap is the norm reasonably than the exception: for instance, in accordance with the U.S. Pain Foundation’s 2021 Pediatric Pain Survey, 80% of surveyed children live with three or more confirmed medical diagnoses, including mental health and other non-pain comorbidities. Similarly, 95% of respondents within the U.S. Pain Foundation’s 2022 survey for adults living with pain reported having a minimum of one comorbidity.
Veasley knows that interrelationship well: she first experienced chronic pain following a near-fatal automotive accident, and developed multiple other pain conditions over the many years. She learned that pain normally involves a trigger, like an illness or an accident, but that somebody with a family health background could also be more “genetically primed” to develop chronic pain conditions than the typical individual.
There have been multiple terms coined to explain this, like “central sensitization syndrome,” however the common denominator is the central nervous system. Just as cancer may present in alternative ways based on location, these chronic pain conditions could have the identical basic mechanism but manifest in a different way.
The truth is, certain conditions—chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic low back pain, chronic tension headache, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, migraine, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular disorder and vulvodynia—occur so regularly together that the term “chronic overlapping pain conditions” (COPCs) was coined to discover them.
Leave a Reply