The ability to experience pain is a defense mechanism that signals the brain that injury or illness have ocurred. There are two types of pain, acute and chronic. Acute pain is a normal sensation felt when the body is injured. Chronic is longer lasting. Chronic pain can become severe due to environmental and psychological factors (surgery, stress, anxiety, etc.) Chronic pain is more associated with an injury that has been treated and the pain still persists, and even long-term illnesses.
Chronic pain is life changing. Most people who suffer from chronic pain become depressed and may distance themselves from family and friends. The pain may not even be just physical. Doctors note that psychological and emotional stress may even trigger chronic pain. Chronic pain is said to be the leading cause of disability in the United States. There are different types of chronic pain that people suffer from. These include somatic pain (from the outer body), visceral pain (from internal organs), bone pain, headaches and muscle spasms.
Fortunately, there is a way to control chronic pain. The treatments for chronic pain may not diminish the symptoms completely, but the patient will be able to lead a more normal life with less pain. The common medications given to patients who suffer from chronic pain include, antidepressants, pain relievers, and anticonvulsants. Since chronic pain is usually constant, a higher dose of medicine is usually administered for a longer period of time. Moreover, there are many forms of therapy that can be used in conjunction with medications to help treat the pain. Physical therapy and low impact exercise are the two most common forms of therapy for pain. This helps the body and muscles relax and decrease stress. Most importantly, leading a healthy lifestyle plays a large part in chronic pain recovery. A person should maintain a healthy diet and getting enough sleep at night. Smoking, alcohol and drug use should also be eliminated due to the negative effects it has on medications.
When determining the severity and cause of your pain, there are different factors that the doctor may consider. Chronic pain is sometimes psychological, so he or she may be interested in your moods, anxiety levels, and lack of social involvement. If the pain is not from psychological factors, the doctor may take into consideration other health problems occurring at that time. Different types of therapy can help treat specific forms of chronic pain so it is important to be diagnosed efficiently.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.