Chronic Pain

Table of contents



Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than three months. It is also called persistent pain or long-term pain. It is often described as “pain that does not go away as expected after an injury or illness”.

The underlying tissue damage from most injuries tends to heal within about three months. It is different to acute pain which is caused when you hurt yourself, your body heals, and the associated pain goes away.

Chronic pain can affect people’s daily lives and activities and can lead to sleep issues, depression and anxiety. This creates a cycle that is difficult to break.


What causes chronic pain?

Chronic pain is thought to occur when nerves become over-sensitive and over-stimulated, and send warning messages to the brain predicting pain, even when there is no injury, or the original injury causing the pain has healed.

The brain keeps reacting to these signals, predicting future pain, and generating pain sensations, a bit like a broken record. Another way of looking at it is thinking about pain as a ‘fire alarm’ in your body. With chronic pain, the alarm keeps ringing even though the ‘fire’ (the underlying tissue damage) has been put out.

Eventually, our brains get stuck in a rut, needing fewer and fewer signals to produce the pain experience. We can become over-sensitised to pain and become overwhelmed by the pain experience to such an extent, that it becomes our new ‘normal’. At this point the pain messaging system has malfunctioned, because it is trying to protect us from something that no longer exists.


What are the symptoms of chronic pain?

Depending on the source of the pain and the individual, chronic pain symptoms can vary significantly, however, some of the common words to describe the symptoms of chronic pain include:

  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Shooting
  • Squeezing
  • Stiffness
  • Stinging
  • Throbbing

Of course, when chronic pain manifests into other conditions, the symptoms can be very different, and these might also include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings

Chronic pain impacts people in different ways. This can make it difficult for healthcare professionals to diagnose the cause of the pain and determine the best treatment.


Types of chronic pain

There are many different types of chronic pain and they can affect every part of your body. Chronic pain comes in many different forms, however, some of the most common types of chronic pain include:

  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Neurogenic pain


How can chronic pain be treated?

A healthcare professional will need to first diagnose the cause of your chronic pain as it is usually a symptom of another condition.

Tests for diagnosis may include blood tests, electromyography (to test muscle activity), imaging tests (x-rays and MRI), nerve conduction studies, reflex and balance tests, spinal fluid tests and urine tests. Diagnosis of the cause will enable your doctor to help treat the cause of the chronic pain.

There are a number of tools in the toolbox to treat chronic pain and often a variety of strategies are more effective than one. Treatment options will depend on the type of pain you have, your health and your age. These include medications, EEG neurofeedback, lifestyle changes such as reducing stress levels, diet and exercise and therapies including counselling, occupational and physical therapy.

The best treatment options for chronic pain usually include a variety of strategies including medications, lifestyle changes, therapies and of course Axon!

If your chronic pain has led to other conditions such as anxiety or depression, it is also important to seek treatment for these mental health conditions alongside treatment for chronic pain. While treatment for chronic pain should help to relieve these other conditions, they should be treated separately to ensure you are getting the best possible medical care.

Axon has been proven to be a safe and effective way of treating Chronic Pain and associated Mental Health conditions, it is noninvasive and can be carried out in the comfort of your own home.

We always recommend that you consult with your family doctor or specialist when beginning a new treatment.

Axon can also help with...

Musculoskeletal Pain

Musculoskeletal pain, including back and neck pain, typically arises from structures like muscles, bones, joints, tendons, or ligaments due to injury, strain, or chronic conditions. This pain can vary in intensity, duration, and can be either localised or widespread, often significantly impacting daily activities and quality of life. It’s usually managed through a combination of physical therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and, in some cases, surgical interventions.

Neuropathic/Nerve Pain (Neuralgia)

Neuralgia is pain in a nerve pathway and is usually a symptom of an injury, disease, or illness. It can feel like a stabbing, burning sensation and can often cause severe pain due to an irritated or damaged nerve.

Typically, neuralgia is not an illness on its own, but a symptom of an injury or particular disorder. In many cases, the cause of the pain is not known.


A migraine may be triggered for a variety of reasons inc. diet (some foods and alcohol), changes in hormone levels, and emotional, physical and environmental factors.


Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder that can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life.