Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About MyChronicPainTeam

Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Posted on August 14, 2018

Article written by
Kelly Crumrin

Chronic pain comes in many varieties. People with chronic pain often experience other symptoms that exacerbate pain and worsen disability.

Pain sensations

People with chronic pain describe many different pain sensations. Different types of chronic pain are often associated with specific varieties of pain. Providing information about the specific type of pain you feel can sometimes provide doctors with clues during diagnosis. Types of chronic pain include:

  • Shooting pain
  • Burning pain
  • Stabbing pain
  • Dull pain
  • Throbbing pain
  • Stinging pain
  • Electrical pain
  • Aching pain
  • Cutting pain
  • Drilling pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Pins and needles sensation
  • Pressure
  • Discomfort
  • Soreness
  • Tightness
  • Stiffness

Breakthrough pain

Breakthrough pain occurs when you are taking medication to control pain, but pain flares and “breaks through” the effects of the medication. Breakthrough pain may happen as your body becomes more tolerant to pain medication, making the medication less effective. In some people, flares of breakthrough pain tend to be triggered by certain activities or circumstances. Triggers for pain flares vary widely depending on the underlying cause of the pain, but may include:

  • Cold weather or changes in the weather
  • Too much or certain types of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Psychological stress
  • Eating certain foods
  • Menstrual periods in women
  • Bright light

Researchers have estimated that about 70 percent of people with chronic pain experience flares of breakthrough pain. Some medications are specifically designated to treat breakthrough pain.

Psychological symptoms of chronic pain

Many people with chronic pain experience depression and anxiety. Stress may be overwhelming. Depression, anxiety, and stress may worsen pain, and pain flares may worsen psychological distress in a vicious cycle. People with chronic pain can find themselves becoming irritable with loved ones.

General symptoms

Fatigue is a common symptom of chronic pain. People with chronic pain may feel exhausted and in need of rest even with plenty of sleep.

People with chronic pain often experience insomnia – either trouble getting to sleep or disrupted sleep. Sleep deprivation can worsen pain, which can worsen insomnia. This is referred to as “painsomnia.”

Many people with chronic pain report cognitive symptoms, or “brain fog,” such as memory issues and trouble finding the right word.

Some people with chronic pain have weakened immune systems. They may contract infections more easily than other people and recover more slowly.

Read about treatments for chronic pain.

Resources

External resources

MyChronicPainTeam resources

Kelly leads the creation of content that educates and empowers people with chronic illnesses. Learn more about her here.

A MyChronicPainTeam Member said:

I began to see such a change when I made diet changes. I had no idea how much what I was eating affected things. I also found a tai chi video and I am… read more

posted 4 days ago

hug

Recent articles

Coronavirus
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Those of us living with pre-existing conditions such as chronic...

Canceling Is Kindness: Keeping Safe From COVID-19 With Chronic Pain

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Those of us living with pre-existing conditions such as chronic...
Setting intentions for 2020 with chronic pain
Eat healthier. Exercise more. Learn a new skill. Pay off a credit card. Many of us have made...

Setting Intentions for 2020 With Chronic Pain

Eat healthier. Exercise more. Learn a new skill. Pay off a credit card. Many of us have made...
Msl af mychronicpainteam susie
I believe that I was born with chronic pain. I was born very pigeon-toed and had wood braces in...

Member Spotlight: What It’s Like to Live With Chronic Pain

I believe that I was born with chronic pain. I was born very pigeon-toed and had wood braces in...
Practicing gratitude with chronic pain
This time of the year can be overwhelming with expectations around the holidays, and living with...

Practicing Gratitude With Chronic Pain

This time of the year can be overwhelming with expectations around the holidays, and living with...
How to enjoy the holidays despite chronic pain
Living with chronic pain may change your holidays, but you can still have enjoyable and...

How to Enjoy the Holidays Despite Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain may change your holidays, but you can still have enjoyable and...
Mht af justdiagnosed olderwoman
We all respond differently to information about our health. After learning what condition is...

Your Chronic Pain Has Finally Been Diagnosed. Now What?

We all respond differently to information about our health. After learning what condition is...
How good boundaries make life with ph easier
There is an old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.” Having healthy boundaries in...

How Good Boundaries Make Life With Chronic Pain Easier

There is an old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.” Having healthy boundaries in...
Mht af saying thinking 4
Living with chronic pain can mean having limited energy, time, and bandwidth. You may find...

Tap Into the Power of Directness: Use "I"

Living with chronic pain can mean having limited energy, time, and bandwidth. You may find...
Mht takingcareofmyself fb v2
Keeping promises to yourself is a way to focus on self-nurture. This could mean making a...

Who's the One Person You Should Always Keep Your Promise To?

Keeping promises to yourself is a way to focus on self-nurture. This could mean making a...
Msl af mychronicpainteam christina
When I first began to develop symptoms of my disease, they were very similar to the symptoms of...

Fighting For Your Quality of Life

When I first began to develop symptoms of my disease, they were very similar to the symptoms of...
MyChronicPainTeam My chronic pain Team

Get the latest articles about chronic pain sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
MyChronicPainTeam My chronic pain Team

Thank you for signing up.

close