Glossary of Medical Terms

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is pain that continues for 3 months or longer. Chronic pain may be triggered by a disease or injury, or the cause may not be clear.

Symptoms may include:

  • Mild to severe pain that does not go away as expected.

  • Pain that may be described as shooting, burning, aching, or electrical.

  • Discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness.

Treatment usually includes behavioral therapy and a combination of medicines (such as pain relievers or antidepressants), physical therapy, and exercise. Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage, or yoga also may be used to treat chronic pain. 

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