Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts more than 12 weeks, often for months or even years. Chronic pain can arise as a side-effect from all sorts of conditions, as well as being a side-effect of treating those conditions (e.g. chemotherapy).
Muscle aches and pains are sometimes called “myalgia”, and are often caused by overexertion, injury or high amounts of tension in one particular muscle of the body. However, conditions like fibromyalgia, thyroid problems (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism), low levels of potassium (hypokalemia, which is also common in athletes who don’t replenish their minerals), flu or bacterial infections, use of drugs such as statins or angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and autoimmune conditions such as lupus may cause muscle pain.
SSRIs have in recent times proven themselves to be effective painkillers, due to alterations in the 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HT) found in chronic pain sufferers. Sadly, benzodiazepines and highly addictive opioids have often also been prescribed, leading to what many call the “opioid epidemic”, with opioid overdose quadrupling between 1999 and 2015. Costs of up to $78.5 billion are estimated when accounting for health care, lost productivity, criminal justice and substance abuse costs arising from the over-prescription of opioid painkillers.