Chronic Pain Syndrome: Beyond the Treshold

Here I sit writing this piece with a toe that’s been killing me for several weeks. Certainly, it doesn’t keep me from doing anything; however – well – it just hurts!

Those enduring Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS) may be snickering at this point. And I wouldn’t blame them in the least. CPS is an awful circumstance, and we’re going to take it on in a two-part series. It’s that big-a-deal.

What Is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Pain, according to – localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder (as a disease or an injury); also: a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus, received by naked nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort (as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leading to evasive action (“Boy, howdy!”).

Emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical; very few people I know enjoy pain. I mean, think about it; isn’t pain the primary reason most of us visit our therapist, psychiatrist, spiritual leader, or physician? And, at least with the physical, most often the source of the pain is identified and treated; allowing us to very comfortably move on with our lives.

But what if our physical pain lasted longer than two months, or well beyond what would be considered typical for an injury or illness? Or what if the pain had no identifiable cause?

Some 35% of Americans endure some sort of chronic pain. In fact, it’s thought that close to 50 million Americans are unable to function normally because of it. Many of these folks will be diagnosed with CPS.

CPS, and its symptoms, are typically based in a past injury, experience, or event. But it can present with no apparent precipitant. Regardless, the end result is ongoing increasing pain, depression, fear, and anxiety.

And if that wasn’t enough, conditions such as chronic burning pain and something known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) are often part of the picture. RSD, by the way, is a chronic pain condition believed to be the result of central or peripheral nervous system dysfunction.

The bottom-line is, “life” becomes a nightmare of never-ending cycling-and-snowballing misery.


Even if you didn’t already have a history of depression and anxiety, do you think CPS could generate both? Sure seems like a cinch to me. And research tells us CPS occurs more frequently in folks enduring emotional and mental health situations. Yes, it just seems to be one more scene in the nightmare.

I suppose it wouldn’t be any great surprise to learn that the depression, anxiety, and sleep issues associated with CPS often cause more misery than the intensity and duration of the pain itself.

What Makes It Happen?

I doubt that science knows exactly what causes CPS, but it’s thought that chronic pain is ultimately an issue of muscles becoming contracted due to a lack of nervous system generated motor input.

It’s also thought that CPS may be caused by an imbalance in nerve cell (neuron) activity. And that may cause neural receptors to become overly excited, leading the body to contract and twist in awkward positions in an effort to avoid being harmed. Sounds like an involuntary phenomenon, doesn’t it? Do you think there’s an emotional component?

It’s important to remember that any form of emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical stress can generate CPS pain flare-ups. And the intensity of the flare-ups track with the intensity of the stress.

Do I Have CPS?

If we went to our physician with chronic pain, here’s what would cause him/her to consider CPS…

  • The mere fact that we’re there for chronic pain
  • Symptoms that appear to exceed the physical findings of the examination – including history
  • Standard treatment has provided minimal relief
  • A history of consulting with numerous physicians
  • Frequent use of multiple medications that appear to be contraindicated

Well, we’ve laid a nice foundation in terms of coming to understand CPS. Pay chipur a visit tomorrow, and we’ll discuss what to do about it – and more.

If you, or someone you know, have CPS experience; why not share a comment or two? You know the drill, it’s how we all learn.

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