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Causes of Chronic Pain

Around 28% of American adults live with chronic pain, which is pain that lasts for 12 weeks or longer. Chronic pain can sap your energy, limit your mobility, and increase your risk of developing anxiety, depression, and other health complications. Unfortunately, it’s also difficult to identify and treat effectively.

Chronic pain may stem from a specific event, such as an injury or surgery, but it doesn’t always have a clear cause. At Ketamine Integrative Medicine in Gilbert, Arizona, Annette Lusko, DO, and our team understand the effects that chronic pain can have, and we specialize in pain management that works.

Common causes of chronic pain

Pain is your body’s natural response to illness, injury, and other trauma. Everyone is familiar with acute pain, which is sharp, sudden pain that dissipates with time. If you stub your toe or get a paper cut, acute pain might last for a few moments. If you break a bone or undergo surgery, acute pain might last for several weeks.

Your body has powerful healing capabilities, and acute pain usually goes away eventually. But if your pain gets worse or continues for 12 weeks or longer, it turns into chronic pain. Chronic pain is common, but there are many possible causes. If you have chronic pain, it could be the result of any of the following issues:


Injuries that affect your bones, tendons, muscles, or other soft tissue can be slow-healing, and it’s not uncommon to experience lingering pain after the original injury has healed.

Chronic back pain is one of the most common types of pain, and it often starts with an injury. Your risk of suffering chronic pain may increase if you get a back injury, such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or a compression fracture.


Surgery plays an important role in health care. Whether you had orthopedic surgery for a musculoskeletal injury or surgery to treat something else, it’s normal to feel pain as your body heals.

However, postsurgical pain can linger after your body heals from the procedure. You may have chronic postsurgical pain if it’s been more than 12 weeks since your surgery and you haven’t developed any other complications.


Neuropathy is the medical term for nerve damage, and it affects up to one in 10 Americans. Nerves transmit pain signals from your body to your brain, but damage and deterioration can interfere with pain signals. Two of the most common types of nerve damage are sciatica and diabetic neuropathy.

Sciatica develops when the sciatic nerve gets compressed, which can result in shooting pain that goes from the lower back down through a leg. Diabetes is a common metabolic condition that can damage nerves, particularly in the hands and feet. Diabetic neuropathy can cause burning, tingling, or numbness in the affected areas.

Furthermore, other conditions, such as arthritis, endometriosis, and inflammatory bowel disease can lead to chronic pain.

Unknown causes

Many types of chronic pain are linked with a specific surgery, injury, or other medical condition. However, some people have chronic pain conditions where the exact cause is unknown.

A few common chronic pain conditions are chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches

Treating chronic pain with ketamine therapy

Diagnosing chronic pain is complex, and there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment strategy. As a certified integrative medicine specialist, Dr. Lusko takes a comprehensive approach without relying on prescription painkillers.

She starts by reviewing your symptoms and medical history. She then works with you to identify — if possible — the source of your pain. Then she creates a treatment plan to address your symptoms.

Lifestyle changes, osteopathic manipulations, and ketamine infusion therapy could be part of your plan. Ketamine is an anesthetic medication that’s administered intravenously to reduce pain symptoms.

If you choose ketamine therapy to treat your chronic pain, you’ll get a series of infusions, each lasting a few hours. You’ll need someone to drive you home, but there should be no lasting side effects between infusion sessions. 

To learn more about ketamine infusion therapy and how it may be able to help you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ketamine Integrative Medicine today.

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