| One-Minute Clinician

The Why & How of Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions

Why/how? These patients…

  • May become hypersensitive to pain as well as other sensory stimuli
  • Tend to be more sensitive to light and sound as well as painful stimuli
  • Suffer from fatigue and poor sleep
  • Are more likely to suffer from mood disorders, like anxiety and depression, and have increased distress


  • There are many theories as to what causes them
  • The most common themes in patients with these conditions is an alteration in the brain, the central nervous system, and the way the brain processes pain information
  • There are probably multiple pathways in which a patient can develop a chronic overlapping pain condition
  • There are genetic vulnerabilities
  • Trauma can increase the likelihood of developing chronic overlapping pain conditions, whether early life trauma or a repetitive trauma
  • Pain symptoms, and other symptoms, are often triggered by stressors