Learn About the Most Sensitive Parts of the Body That Cause Daily Pain
If you are dealing with body aches and pains, you are not alone. In fact, an estimated 20.4% of adults in the U.S. experienced chronic pain, and 8% of them experienced high-impact chronic pain, according to the CDC. By nature, chronic pain is persistent pain and discomfort throughout the body that lasts for 12 weeks or longer despite medication or treatment. The nature of chronic pain is that it sticks around much longer than you might have expected. If you are dealing with this problem, you are probably wondering why. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes has released a possible explanation, which is that chronic pain persists due to pain signals that fire in the nervous system for long periods of time.
When pain in your body becomes amplified, your central nervous system latches onto signals and interprets them as being painful. Your brain and spinal cord receive signals from the nerves and sends out patterns of signals to the muscles that control the movements in the arms, legs, and spine. If your spinal cord has become overly irritable, rather than filtering normal pain signals, it amplifies them incorrectly. This phenomenon is called central amplification of the peripheral pain signal, and it plays a major role in pain processing. For individuals whose brain amplifies their sensory experiences, heightened body pain is common. Some of the most common types of body pain are:
- Back pain
Back pain is one of the most common reasons patients visit the doctor. According to the American Chiropractic Association, as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some point in their lives. The reason back pain is so prevalent has to do with the shape of the lumbar spine, which are the five vertebrae in the lower part of the spine between the ribs and pelvis. This part of the body is responsible for supporting the upper body weight. This function places an excess of stress on the lumbar spine, which can lead to mechanical stress and strain. Some of the most common conditions associated with back pain are:
- Degenerative disc disease
Disc degeneration can cause no symptoms for some, but for others the pain can be so strong that they are unable to carry out their regular lives. It is caused by wear and tear to the spinal disc, and can become worse due to injury, health and lifestyle factors, and genetic predispositions to joint pain and musculoskeletal disorders.
- Herniated disc
A herniated disc is a fragment of the disc nucleus that is pushed out of the annulus and into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture in the annulus. When a disc becomes herniated, it is usually in the early stage of degeneration. A strain or sudden twisting movement can cause a disc to rupture.
- Spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces in between the spine narrow, which places pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. It is most common in the lower back and neck. This is a potentially serious condition because if the spinal nerve is compressed for an extended period of time, it can lead to permanent numbness and paralysis.
- Vertebral compression fracture
A vertebral compression fracture occurs when a bone in the spine collapses, typically due to excessive pressure. Bending forward and downward pressure can cause this issue. The fractures are most common in the thoracic spine, which is the middle part of the spine. Vertebral compression fractures can lead to fractured bones that persist despite treatment and further damage to the vertebrae.
- Facet joint pain
Facet joint syndrome is a spinal condition similar to arthritis. It can be a major source of back and neck pain, and it happens when an individual experiences degenerate changes to the joints between the spine bones. When this happens, the cartilage in the facet joint can degenerate and become inflamed, which stimulates the pain signals in the nerve endings.
- Neck pain
In the course of three months, about 15% of adults in the U.S. experience neck pain that lasts at least a full day, according to the CDC. When it comes to common causes of body pain, pains in the back and neck go hand-in-hand. The neck and back operate through a series of ligaments, tendons, and intervertebral discs and facet joints. Your spine is what provides the mechanical connection in your body. Healthy mechanical connections in the body work to facilitate the best movement abilities possible. If there are abnormalities, inflammation, or injuries in your neck, this can lead to pain and stiffness. This tends to happen when the soft tissues become strained or sprained from overuse, overextension, and poor posture.
Fibromyalgia is the second most common condition that affects the bones and muscles. It is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain as well as fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. Although it is often a lifelong condition, it does not cause damage to the joints, muscles, or organs. Patients often describe the pain that comes with fibromyalgia as a continuous, dull ache that lasts for a few months. Fibromyalgia is considered widespread when it happens on both sides of the body and below the waist.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the joints break down, often in the hips, knees, and spine. When cartilage is functioning properly, it enables frictionless joint motion, but it can painfully rub on the bone when it wears down. Although it is possible to manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis, the damage to the joints cannot be reversed. The condition alters the bone and damages the connective tissues that attach the muscle to the bone. It also causes inflammation of the joint lining.
- Myofascial pain syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder that stimulates trigger points in the muscles and causes pain throughout the musculoskeletal system. This is a unique condition because it is associated with trigger points in the muscles. The most common symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome are localized muscle pain, trigger points that activate pain, muscle stiffness, fatigue, restless sleep, headaches, and poor posture.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is often related to stress. Today, Americans are experiencing stress at alarmingly high rates. Stress has certainly taken a toll on adults in the U.S. during the pandemic. In a 2019 Annual Stress in America survey, the average stress level reported by Americans was 4.9. In comparison, the stress level for adults during the pandemic was reported to be 5.9. This was rated out of a scale of 1-10, and the report for parents of children under 18 reached as high as 6.7. In addition to fatigue and restlessness, many with chronic pain fatigue develop pain in the muscles and joints without redness or swelling.
ProFysio Physical Therapy provides treatment for a wide range of body pain-related issues. If you think you have been experiencing any of the conditions above, give us a call at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online to find out how we can help.