Skip to main content

Reasons You Are Experiencing Chronic Pain

By Jeff Hayward

Medically Reviewed by Patty Weasler, RN

We often get aches and pains throughout the day, but that’s just part of being alive—and it gets more prevalent as we age. However, many people unfortunately have pain that never quite goes away, although the intensity might fluctuate.

While your doctor may prescribe you an ongoing concoction of painkillers to manage the symptoms, they may not always know the root cause of the pain. The reasons you’re experiencing chronic pain can be from an old forgotten injury, or something more serious that should be examined further. Here are five reasons you can’t seem to shake the pain…

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

It sounds painful and complex, so it usually is. The Mayo Clinic says this is a more rare cause of chronic pain that can become apparent following an injury, heart attack, or stroke. However, the clinic said the pain from this disorder is often not consistent with the injury or initial health problem (it’s worse).

While this syndrome isn’t completely understood (giving it the complex tag), there is some treatment that can help alleviate the pain or put it into remission. Some symptoms of the syndrome include burning in your extremities, oversensitivity to coldness, changes in skin color, muscle spasms and weakness, and even partial paralysis.


This is a far more common condition, but it doesn’t make it any more pleasant if you’re unlucky enough to experience it. It can cause excruciating and widespread pain while also making you feel very tired, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Although commonly referred to as an arthritis-related condition, the institute said it actually isn’t because it doesn’t mimic the inflammation of joints like arthritis does. The institute says getting enough sleep and trying to remain active are two big ways to combat this chronic condition.

Multiple Sclerosis

This progressive neurological disease causes chronic pain in about 50-percent of its sufferers, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. It can be tricky to figure out exactly what is causing the pain and how to properly treat it, noted the society.

Multiple sclerosis pain can show up in many forms, including back pain, discomfort in the extremities, muscle spasms, headaches, and neurological pain, noted the source. It sometimes requires a multidisciplinary healthcare approach (doctors, physical therapists) to effectively relieve the symptoms.


The dreaded C-word could be the underlying cause of pain that doesn’t seem to be going away. Livestrong notes that certain cancers can cause widespread pain in your body when it spreads, but cancer treatment itself can also be the culprit.

Bone metastasis is when cancer has reached the bones, causing ongoing discomfort. However, nerves can also be damaged from chemotherapy causing peripheral neuropathy, which shows up as pain or numbness starting in the hands and feet.

Depression and Anxiety

Not all causes of chronic pain are caused solely by physical factors. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America explains that chronic pain is quite common in people who experience a form of mental illness, and that the pain can manifest itself as arthritis and migraine headaches.

Since chronic pain can also cause depression, it can be a vicious cycle. The association said some medications could be helpful, as well as natural solutions such as exercise, sleep and better nutrition. Acupuncture has also been shown to be effective for anxiety and pain symptoms.

fizkes / Shutterstock


Patty is a freelance health writer and nurse (BSN, CCRN). She has worked as a critical care nurse for over 10 years and loves educating people about their health. When she's not working, Patty enjoys any outdoor activity that she can do with her husband and three kids.

Men's Health News