'Chronic pain' (or persistent or long term pain) is defined as lasting more than 3 months. Pain lasting less than that is 'acute pain'.
7.8 million people in the UK suffer chronic pain and some studies show even more - maybe 30-50% of adults. And it's not just for old people; 70% are under 60 years old. However, 53% of over 75 year olds will have long term, persistent pain, so it does often accompany the ageing of our bodies, though nowadays we consider pain as more than simply 'wear and tear'.
Pain isn't something you can pick up and measure and show someone. It isn't something you can simply cut out and remove. It is a very personal experience and this can make it very hard to explain to others, make them understand and share your pain, not even to healthcare professionals or those closest to you. This can be very frustrating and demoralising.
And it can affect many, or all, aspects of your life, including finances, of course and your relationships.
It's very complex. There is a lot that is still unknown and considerable research underway. New ideas arise all the time and often our old ideas are shown to be wrong. Medication is often not very helpful for chronic persistent pain and some types can cause more problems and may even lead to more pain or becoming dependent.