Pain Conditions

Chronic pain conditions include back pain, neck pain, joint and musculoskeletal pain, chronic pain after surgery, and neuropathic pain conditions such as sciatica and post-herpetic neuralgia. Up to 20% of adults have chronic pain with around 8% having severe disabling chronic pain conditions that impact their mood, sleep, employment, social function and quality of life. Many of these patients have risk factors for chronic pain that can be addressed to prevent chronic pain conditions from developing in the future.

Chronic pain has an impact beyond the individual, with negative consequences on their families and society. It also affects those who are in poverty and living in rural areas more than the affluent who live in cities.

Chronic pain conditions include chronic abdominal pain, back pain, cancer pain, coccygodynia, complex regional pain syndrome, facial pain, fibromyalgia, foot pain, headache, neck pain, piriformis syndrome, post-hermetic neuralgia, pudendal neuralgia, shoulder pain, trigger points, sciatica and chronic pain after surgery. Risk factors for chronic pain.

Risk factors include:

  • Pain
    • By far the biggest risk factor for the development of chronic pain is having another pain condition; thus it is advisable to get treated for pain rather than leaving it alone.
  • Advanced age
  • Females have a higher incidence of chronic pain, higher pain intensity, and more pain disability
  • Minority races, and people from developing countries are at risk
  • Poor people have a higher incidence of chronic pain, higher pain intensity, and more pain disability
  • Unemployed people and those who are poorly educated are more likely to have chronic pain
  • Lifestyle factors include:
    • smoking
    • alcoholism
    • obesity
    • lack of exercise
    • lack of sunshine and vitamin D
  • Weight disorder
    • overweight with a BMI over 30
    • underweight with a BMI less than 18.5
  • Mental health disorders
    • anxiety and depression
    • fear of pain and avoidance behaviors
    • catastrophization
  • Sleep disorders
    • Insomnia and sleep apnea are risk factors
  • Cancer survivors
  • Surgery
    • Chronic post-surgical pain is can affect up to 10% of patients. It is more common after breast, cardiac, thoracic surgeries and amputations. People with chronic pain are more at risk of getting chronic post-surgical pain. Contrary to popular belief, bigger more extensive surgeries are not necessarily related to chronic post-surgical pain. Rather, patients who are young and anxious and who have postoperative infections are more likely to suffer from chronic post-surgical pain.
  • History of violence and abuse
    • Victims are more likely to suffer from and develop chronic pain conditions

Here are some of the common pain conditions:


Mills SEE, Nicolson KP, Smith BH. Chronic pain: a review of its epidemiology and associated factors in population-based studies. Br J Anaesth. 2019;123(2):e273-e283. doi:10.1016/j.bja.2019.03.023