Throughout our lives, we come face to face with many health complications. They affect us in different ways. There are many reasons why we fall victim to these complications. These include environmental factors, genetics, stress, diet, and lifestyle. The way a person leads their life dictates how life treats them.
However, there are some ailments that affect us more strongly than others. One of these is the pain. Although pain is a symptom or a result of a pre-existing condition, it can act as a separate condition itself. It is a complex thing that can dominate your life. Pain is a debilitating condition that can hinder you from doing the simplest of tasks. It’s not easy living a life with pain, but there are treatments and remedies available that can help manage and even cure patients of it.
Pain – The snake in the grass
The tricky aspect of pain is that it doesn’t just appear. There’s always an underlying cause. In some cases, identifying this underlying cause can be complicated. Each part of your body works in different ways and is affected by different things. Sometimes, even unrelated body parts are affected. For example, people with cardiac complaints often complain of toothaches.
Pain is usually the result of something else. Which is why treating it becomes a tricky situation. Once doctors are absolutely certain of the cause, treating pain becomes that much easier. Identifying the cause can be complicated and sometimes a prolonged process. But living with pain should not be an option. Pain can prevent people from living normal, regular lives. It stands in the way of performing simple necessary tasks like driving a car, sleeping, and so on.
Thanks to modern medicine, people suffering from pain have several options for treatment today. Medication, physical therapies, as well as mind-body techniques are some of the most effective forms of pain treatment. Before we address treatment, let’s learn more about the types of pain and their causes.
Classification of pain
Pain affects different people differently. The difference lies not only in how it feels but where it is originating from. Accurately identifying the source will greatly help doctors in determining the right form of treatment. Basically, pain falls into two categories – nociceptive pain caused by damage to the tissues and neuropathic pain caused by damage to the nerves. There is a third category called psychogenic pain which arises from psychological factors. Although this type of pain normally has physical origins such as a nerve or tissue damage, the pain is heightened due to psychological conditions like anxiety, depression or stress. There are a few cases where the pain is caused by a psychological condition itself.
Another factor in the classification of pain is the affected part of the patient’s body. You may have heard doctors ask if the pain is at the joints or a muscular one. Other types of pains are parts of syndromes, such as myofascial pain syndrome. Fibromyalgia is another example.
Pain can also be classified as acute and chronic. Acute pain arises from a specific event, injury or illness. The pain is the result of a normal reaction of the person’s nervous system. In most cases, acute pain is resolved as the injury heals or the illness is cured.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, is something that affects people on a long-term basis. It can be a condition in itself. When associated or caused by an injury, the patient often complains of pain long after the regular healing time. Chronic diseases like spinal stenosis or degenerative arthritis can also pain for extended periods of time. Dysfunctions of a person’s nervous system and psychological factors can also be causes. In some cases, it is very difficult to identify the underlying cause of the chronic pain.
This is the most common type of pain to affect people. It typically arises from an injury which may have damaged tissues, organs or bones. The injury can be the result of diseases like cancer or physical trauma such as broken bones. This type of pain can be a simple ache or as serious as throbbing or stabbing pain. It could be constant or intermittent. Some injuries may make coughing, laughing or moving painful.
Tissue damage can cause either acute or chronic pain. Injuries such as a sprained ankle are considered acute pain and are the result of soft tissue damage. Migraines and arthritis cause chronic pain. Medical treatments such as radiation therapy for cancer can also lead to tissue damage, resulting in pain.
The nerves in your body work just like electric wires sending signals to different parts of your body to and from the brain. Pain is also a signal. Nerve damage will interfere with the transmission of these signals. This abnormality can cause pain, burning sensation, and even numbness. Nerve damage can arise from trauma or health conditions like diabetes, HIV infection, and strokes. Certain medications like chemotherapy drugs can also lead to nerve damage. Neuropathic pain can also arise if there is any damage to the patient’s central nervous system that includes the spinal cord and brain. It can also arise from damaged peripheral nerves.
Neuropathic pain is often described as prickling or burning. It can also feel like electrical shocks, stabbing sensations or pins and needles. Some people who suffer from nerve damage find that they have become hypersensitive to touch or temperature. Even the slightest touch can cause immense pain. Nerve damage often results in chronic pain. Conditions like central pain syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, shingles, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, and trigeminal neuralgia are examples of conditions or syndromes that cause chronic neuropathic pain.
How can pain be treated?
Pain is a complex issue that can result from a variety of reasons. Acute pain is easier to treat, but it can be an unbearable experience as well. Chronic pain will require longer treatments, which means more medication and visits to the doctor’s clinic. However, no person should live with pain.
Pain is a crippling condition that can rob you of the privilege of leading a normal life. People suffering from pain should consult medical professionals so that their conditions can be identified and they can be relieved from the suffering. Chronic pain caused by neuralgia or diabetic neuropathy can make simple tasks like driving, reading, sitting for long periods, and so on., extremely painful. Other conditions like migraines can be so severe that many patients find it hard to keep their eyes open or blink.
Thanks to advancements in the field of medicine, there are many treatments available for conditions that cause acute and chronic pain. Medication and physical therapy are often prescribed for people suffering from sciatica, back pain, migraines, headaches, arthritis, and joint pain. They will also be recommended to make certain changes to their lifestyles that may help alleviate their symptoms and pain. Specialized doctors will determine the right form of treatment and procedures and customize them for patients to help achieve the best results. Some patients may even need combination treatments in case their pain is stemming from more than one cause.
Decades of research has led to major developments in the field of medicine and healthcare. One of the primary goals for this research has been to determine appropriate non-invasive treatment techniques for various health conditions. And thanks to this research, we now have non-invasive as well as some minimally invasive procedures to treat patients suffering from chronic and acute pain. Some of these procedures include caudal steroid injections, ganglion impar block, lumbar radiofrequency rhizotomy, and piriformis and psoas compartment block.
Many centers offer a variety of advanced pain management techniques. These also include chiropractic care, spine treatments, alternative therapy, prescription medication, narcotic medication, nerve blockers, trigger point injections, electrothermal therapy, bioelectric therapy, patient-controlled analgesia pumps, and natural pain relief.
Alternative therapy is used to describe treatment techniques that are not conventional. This form of therapy encompasses various disciplines, including yoga, hypnosis, acupuncture, relaxation, massages, herbal remedies, and so on. Mind-body therapy is also an alternative therapy that has been gaining popularity over recent years. These therapies help the patient improve their mind’s ability to manage symptoms of their conditions, including pain. Nutritional supplements are also effective in relieving chronic pain.
The benefits of advanced pain management are very straight-forward. A life riddled with pain can be a real suffering. Even though acute pain doesn’t last as long as chronic pain, it can hinder daily activities. Chronic pain can sometimes bring a person’s life to a complete halt. Relief from pain will give you the freedom to continue living a regular life. It’s a great feeling to know that you can go back to doing basic tasks like driving a car, cleaning, finishing chores, and so on. Knowing that you can enjoy all of the life’s little pleasures without being dragged down by pain is a wonderful feeling.