What could be worse than severe and unrelenting chronic pain that disrupts your life and keeps you from enjoying the simplest of pleasures? For those who have experienced it, migratory chronic pain might be the answer.
Migratory pain affects different parts of the body at different times. It can manifest as muscular aching, throbbing, burning, shooting, sharp or stabbing pain—or it can produce an overall body ache that mimics flu-like symptoms. Migratory pain is common in people who suffer from fibromyalgia and different types of arthritis.
Fibromyalgia: Pain that moves, changes and increases
Fibromyalgia, a condition that affects an estimated 15 million Americans, is not well understood. Researchers believe that a variety of factors—including genetics, infections, and physical or emotional trauma—may work together to cause fibromyalgia, which is characterized by general fatigue, sleep disturbances and widespread pain that can wax, wane and migrate to all parts of the body. Researchers believe that repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves abnormal increases in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain. With fibromyalgia, pain memories stored by the brain can be reactivated and amplified, and these amplified signals cause body changes to occur that can include decreasing serotonin levels, brain wave fluctuations and disturbed sleep stages.
Pain that migrates between and among the body’s joints
Arthritis is a broad term—classified into over 100 categories—that defines joint pain and inflammation. Migratory arthritis is characterized by rapid onset of swelling in one or two joints. As symptoms resolve, similar symptoms begin to emerge in another joint, usually in an asymmetric location. The symptoms then generally fade within the next few days before they flare again. Migratory arthritis is mostly associated with the following forms of arthritis:
- Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks healthy tissue
- Osteoarthritis, a breakdown of the cartilage that covers the joint bones
- Gout, caused by urate crystal buildup between joints
- Lupus, an inflammatory disease in which your immune system attacks the body’s joints and tissues
Other medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), hepatitis B, hepatitis C and various bacterial infections can also cause migratory arthritis. No matter the type of arthritis a person experiences, it’s impossible to predict where or when the pain will move.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Migratory pain should be treated as early as possible to break the pain cycle. Of course, by its very nature, migratory pain can be challenging to diagnose. A pain management specialist will begin the diagnostic process with a physical examination, evaluation of the pain’s medical history and blood tests that can check for markers that would indicate certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
There are also things you can do to help yourself, including getting proper exercise and sporting a good attitude. While managing pain can be frustrating, exhausting and even depressing, a recent study has showed that patients who maintain generally positive emotions experience about 28 percent less pain than those who don’t.
At Pain Management and Injury Relief, our pain management specialists use the latest technologies and most advanced equipment to accurately diagnose and manage your pain. Our continuum of services includes innovative, minimally invasive procedures and non-narcotic pain-relief methods. We also encourage complementary alternative medicine (CAM) options for migratory pain that include acupuncture and massage. If you’d like to learn more about options for addressing your chronic pain, we encourage you to call Pain Management and Injury Relief at (877) 724-6349 to make an appointment today.