Pain is associated with an acutely unpleasant sensory perception, and is usually associated with a trauma or damage to tissue like a cut to the hand or smashing a finger with a hammer.
This important sense prompts action whether it is a withdrawal from a situation or avoidance of an activity. The pain sensation rapidly resolves in most cases. Occasionally, the pain persists past the initial trigger or there is no apparent reason for the pain.
The complaint of pain is the most common reason providers are sought for treatment.
Effects of Pain
The pain sensation can cause several varying symptoms. Gastrointestinal distress as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation are all associated with pain. It can also be accompanied with a headache, dizziness, weakness and a general feeling of over whelming fatigue.
Many who suffer with pain, especially chronic conditions, deal with a range of emotional issues. Individuals can develop uncharacteristic irritability and anger; there may also be mood swings into depression with uncontrollable crying. Anxiety is also common for those who have pain. In severe cases suicidal thoughts can manifest.
The general biologic reason behind pain is to promote or prohibit an activity of an individual. This limiting factor spills into the life of a person with chronic pain issues. Sufferers may withdrawal from recreational activities that once provided joy and entertainment. The presence of pain may limit the physical ability of a person to perform normal daily tasks. Suddenly taking a shower or getting out of bed is an impossibility; performing work duties unachievable; personal relationships too difficult as the pain keeps an unrelenting grip on the afflicted individual.
When considering the treatment of pain, it is not just the physical discomfort that must be addressed.
Pain is different for each person and must be addressed that way. For some pain medications or analgesics, and ice for the specific area of pain may be useful. Others may need a good support group like friends and family to help minimize the emotional factor of the incident.
Types of Pain
Pain lasting less than three months is considered acute. This type of pain is associated closely to tissue damage, like stubbing a toe or a minor fall from a bicycle resulting in scrapes and bruising. The cause of the pain can easily be identified and treated.
When this type of tissue damage happens, it triggers the nociceptors in the skin or organs. These specialized sensors prep the body for action.
Acute pain is considered self-limiting or the activity of the individual is based upon that person and not other outside complications.
Chronic pain maintains for over three months, and does not always have an identifiable cause.
While the reason for chronic pain is not always established there are a number of general conditions which prompt the issue.
• Radical surgeries such as amputations and mastectomies can result in complaints of chronic pain.
• Neurologic issues like headaches and diabetic neuropathy pose the potential of chronic pain.
• Arthritis sufferers, and those with lower back, shoulder or neck pain are common to the need for chronic pain management.
• Some diseases prompt chronic pain as seen with cancer patients, those with shingles, myofacial pain syndrome, regional pain syndrome, and visceral pain syndrome.
Chronic pain management is a very personalized treatment course. To expect total relief of pain is an impossibility instead the goal is to achieve a level of pain which permits the person to function as normally as possible.
Treatments may include a combination of medications, acupuncture, electrical stimulation or brain stimulation.
Individuals suffering with a chronic pain condition are strongly urged to thoroughly research the diagnosis and treatments available.