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What is the Connection Between Chronic Pain and Fatigue?

Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Chronic pain and fatigue often occur together, and while many links between the two can be drawn, most researchers have not come to a concrete conclusion as to why the two often occur together. Fibromyalgia, a condition in which a sufferer experiences chronic pain throughout the body, is often accompanied by fatigue, perhaps due to the stress the body undergoes during such pain. In other instances, chronic pain and fatigue may be due to lifestyle choices one makes; people who work physically demanding jobs or participate regularly in athletic events may experience different types of chronic pain and fatigue due to the strain placed on the body and mind.

Muscle aches and pains are not uncommon among athletes and people with physically demanding jobs. Heavy lifting or constant or unnatural movement can cause pain in certain parts of the body, and as the other muscles of the body compensate for the strain, those muscles too can begin to tire and strain. If this happens regularly, chronic pain and fatigue may occur because of the extra effort the body has to endure. In most cases, the chronic condition means the body is moving unnaturally, or some issue within the body is preventing the body from functioning normally. A visit to a doctor may be in order to discover the cause of the pain or unnatural movement.

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People who suffer from fibromyalgia often suffer from chronic pain and fatigue simultaneously. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, and the symptoms include sensitivity to pressure, fatigue, numbness, and even depression. The link between chronic pain and fatigue in this instance may be due to the connection between fibromyalgia and depression, as one of the most common symptoms of depression is excessive or regular fatigue. Again, the stress placed on the body and mind due to the chronic nature of the pain can lead to a regular feeling of tiredness, and when the pain occurs regularly, so too will the fatigue.

Unfortunately for many sufferers of chronic pain and fatigue, the treatment often focuses on pain management rather than healing. A change in diet can help relieve some of the fatigue, and addressing some of the causes of the pain can help alleviate it, but in some cases — especially when dealing with fibromyalgia — helping the sufferer cope with the condition and manage the pain is the only alternative. Medications can help in many instances, as can physical rehabilitation or visits to a mental health professional.

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