I have had two personal experiences with chronic pain. In 1982 I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C which at the time was fairly new and named Hepatitis Non A/Non B. The main symptom that I had at the time was a headache that lasted for over a year. The headache went away but chronic hepatitis C has been my close companion ever since.
In 1995 I started doing asthanga yoga, exercising hardcore for the first time in my life. I am very loose limbed and long muscled and I was able to do some cool physical feats pretty quickly. But soon my knees became sore, then started to ache, and finally began to scream in pain. Three surgeries later I have much stronger muscles and very sound joints. And I learned how to walk correctly.
Those two instances are very different. Pain from a chronic illness or disease follows a very different course that knee or joint pain. One I was not able to resolve (Hepatitis) while the other I was able to deal with by changing my the way I walk and stand.
Chronic is the label given to pain that last longer that three to six months, though that distinction varies. Another definition is pain that should have gone away but has stubbornly lingered. This is the most common issue I work with—pain, that while not terribly severe, has been accepted as part of a normal movement pattern.
Our brains are highly adaptable and they seek normalcy at every turn. Our bodies adapt and compensate in similar ways. Once chronic pain takes hold as a pattern we unfortunately tend to accept it as a new normal. This is a twisted process but I witness it all the time.
Getting out of chronic pain is not always possible but at the CoreWalking program we have had a lot of success by simply helping people change their life by changing the way they move. It is not hard but it requires a commitment to repetition and a moderate level of consciousness as you incorporate new patterns into your body.