» Introduction : Causes

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There are many different causes of chronic pain in both men and women.  Some of the more common causes include:


Arthritis is a general term for over 100 different diseases that cause joint stiffness, swelling and pain.  The pain usually increases over time and can be incapacitating.

Back Pain

Back pain is most often caused by an injury.  Strain and stress on the back muscles can linger allowing the pain to become chronic.  Back pain can also be due to poor posture or repetitive motions.


There are many different factors that may contribute to chronic headache pain.  Colds, flu, infections and food sensitivities are the most common medical conditions that can contribute to reoccurring headaches.  An injury is more often the cause of chronic head pain, however.  A pinched nerve, head trauma or even a brain tumor can cause consistent long term head pain.


Not everyone who has cancer suffers from chronic pain, but pain can be caused by growing tumors, infection, inflammation, poor blood circulation or as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation.


Although doctors are unsure of the cause, fibromyalgia can cause severe pain in the muscles and fibrous tissues.

Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromes (UCPPS)

An umbrella term for pain syndromes associated with the bladder (bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis) and the prostate gland (chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome). Chronic pelvic pain may also involve the digestive, gynecologic or musculoskeletal systems.

Chronic prostatitis in men

Prostatitis describes persistent pain in the pelvic area that can last for months. For many years doctors thought chronic prostatitis was caused by bacterial infection; however, a landmark study found that one-third of men with and without prostatitis had equal counts of similar bacteria colonizing their prostates [5]. As a result, attempts to relieve the pain with antibiotics did not work.  As a side note, the study also found that muscle relaxants aiming to relax the bladder neck muscles and muscle fibers in the prostate were not effective either in substantially reducing the symptoms of chronic prostatitis [6].

Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction in both men and women can produce chronic pelvic pain from musculoskeletal restrictions resulting from things like psychological distress (divorce, trauma, job loss, abuse) or even certain types of exercise like cycling.

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) in women

CPP, also referred to as Chronic Regional Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CRPPS), is one of the most common kinds of pain in women.  CPP has been associated with dyspareunia (pain with vaginal penetration), depression and challenges with activities of daily life [7]. A thorough work up by your health care provider is essential for uncovering the underlying causes of chronic pelvic pain.  Some of the diverse causes of CPP are:

  • Gastrointestinal conditions like diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Urinary conditions like interstitial cystitis or urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Gynecological conditions like endometriosis, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, pelvic congestion syndrome, ovarian remnant following a complete hysterectomy, fibroids
  • Psychological conditions like depression, chronic stress or a history of sexual or physical abuse

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