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Chronic pain is quite common. It is defined as an area of the body continuously in some level of discomfort or pain for greater than 3 months. It can be the result of a specific injury or a gradual onset.

There are four areas prone to chronic pain. In order of prevelance they are:

LOW BACK PAIN - The low back, or lumbar spine, is the most common area of chronic pain. Over the last several decades the number of chronic pain sufferers has increased and researchers believe it is because of inactivity, we sit too much. Some other reasons are: thinning or herniated discs, postural 'crookedness', as well as spinal arthritis. Chronic low back pain can develop into spinal stenosis, weakness in the legs, and can affect bowel and bladder function among others.

NECK PAIN - The cervical spine has the smallest of all vertebra and is vunerable to injury. Whiplash injuries, such as from a car crash, are very common. Injury to the neck includes a decrease in range of motion, headaches, numbness and tingling in the arms and hands. Left untreated the vertebra can become misshaped and disc herniations can result.

Additionally, the use of electronic devices put our head and neck in prolonged flexion which creates not only neck pain but also shoulder and upper back pain.

JOINT PAIN - Large joints like knees, hips, and shoulders also can become chronically painful. Some are a result of injuries, many are from repetitive joint motion. What typically occurs is a loss of joint space (the area between two bones). When the joint space narrow, cartilige can deteriorate and cause pain. Once the bones in the joint rub together, surgery is often necessary.

MUSCLE PAIN - Because of inactivity, muscles are prone for injury. Muscle fibers begin to break down and can often tear. Conversely, chronically tight muscles, especially in large muscle groups like the hamstrings, can become very problematic. Overly tight muscles cause skeletal imbalances which can affect all other joints in the body and set them up for chronic pain as well.

The good news is chronic pain, in many cases, can be reversed. Whether it be a surgical intervention, chiropractic or physical therapy, strength training, a good stretching program (such as yoga), resolution of chronic pain can be achieved.