We could define pain as an unpleasant sensation that happens when body tissues are damaged. Depending on the injury, pain can be temporary or chronic. However, both types have something in common: they hugely deteriorate the patients’ lifestyle. They prevent them from doing everyday tasks and having fulfilling lives. For this reason, pain management is an essential branch of healthcare.
Unsurprisingly, pain is the primary cause of why patients ask to see a doctor. However, despite what Scrubs and Dr. House might have led us to believe, pain management is more than just injections. It includes everything from therapy to prescribing medications. Therefore, if you want to learn more about pain management, keep reading.
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How Is Pain Treatment Guided?
“The history of the pain guides the treatment of pain.” Pain management treatments depend on intensity, duration, aggravating and relieving conditions, and structures involved. If a structure causes pain, it is because it has a nerve supply. In the case of these structures, an injury or stimulation might cause pain. Therefore, doctors have to identify the precise source of the problem and decide on a treatment afterward.
How? Fluoroscopy, an X-ray-guided viewing method, and ultrasound help professionals with this challenging task. With these methods, doctors can locate the specific spot where the injection should go. By doing this, they make sure the medication reaches the source of the pain.
What Are The Basic Types Of Pain?
There are different types of pains patients suffer from. For this reason, they must consult their doctor before self-medicating. These types include:
- Chronic pain:Any pain that lasts more than three months is chronic.
- Labor:The pain generated when giving birth.
- Fibromyalgia:Caused by a disease that’s quite hard to diagnose.
- Injury:This type of pain usually comes on suddenly and lasts less than three months.
- Knee pain:Many factors may cause this type of pain. However, there are many ways to eliminate it too.
- Myofascial pain syndrome:This kind of pain happens in the musculoskeletal system.
- Post-op:This is the type of pain that may come up after major surgery. It usually lasts for some days or weeks.
- Youth sports:“When young athletes are injured, proper assessment and treatment will get them back to regular activities and help them avoid developing chronic pain.”
- Sciatica:Back pain or “sciatica has many causes, including bulging or herniated lumbar (lower back) discs.”
“Acute or chronic pain can have a tremendous impact on your quality of life. It can also be challenging to diagnose and very complicated to treat.” Doctors try their best to understand the problem and put up a comprehensive treatment plan.
What Are Other Causes Of Pain?
Other factors may lead to pain. It can include accidental blood or food poisoning. Some diseases, such as the common cold, can cause a throat ache. Fever will also provoke your body and head to hurt. Finally, medical treatments, like chemotherapy or physical rehabilitation, can become a source of pain.
You have for sure used an analgesic at some point in your life. There are many kinds of pain medicines, including:
- Paracetamol:It is highly recommended to treat short-term pain.
- Aspirin:Are you suffering from fever, period pain, or a mild headache? Then, aspirins come in handy.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Though the name might not ring a bell, the well-known analgesic Ibuprofen is included in this category. When suffering from redness or swelling, these are the go-to medicines.
- Opioid medicines:Medicines such as codeine, morphine, and oxycodone work for severe or cancer pain.
- Local anesthetics: When you can reach the nerves easily, drops, sprays, creams, or injections are a good treatment option.
- Some antidepressants and anti-epilepsy medicines:“Used for a specific type of pain, called nerve pain.”
“Pain-treating clinicians are constantly searching for medications that improve patient outcomes, and that can minimize the use of opioids.”
Managing Pain Without Medicines
Many patients find over-the-counter medicines to be insufficient for treating their pain. What’s more, people with a history of drug substance abuse might want to keep opioids away as much as possible. Therefore, they might opt for other comprehensive pain management techniques. “A variety of approaches and modalities can help you deal with both the physical and emotional parts of pain.”
It might include:
- Meditation and relaxation techniques:Undoubtedly, stress makes the pain worse. For this reason, calming down can help you cope with pain.
- CBD oil:CBD oil is one of the newest methods for advanced pain management. It acts on your endocannabinoid system, which is the one in charge of managing pain. However, there are many brands out there, and some aren’t as effective as others. Therefore, you should get the best CBD oil you can find and avoid the cheap ones.
- Heat and cold therapy:This method can help with swelling, thus reducing pain in certain areas.
- Visual imagery:Simply picturing yourself in a peaceful place can disconnect your mind from the painful moment you’re experiencing.
In short, healthcare professionals look to “improve your pain and quality of life through a variety of minimally invasive pain management techniques.”
Side Effects of Pain Medicines
As it happens with any other medicine, pain medicine can have side effects. These can include:
- Paracetamol:Skin rashes and liver damage;
- Aspirin:Vomiting, nausea, indigestion, and stomach ulcers;
- NSAIDs:Headaches, stomach upset, nausea, high blood pressure and tiredness and dizziness; and
- Opioid painkillers:Confusion, drowsiness, falls, nausea, constipation, and vomiting.
Healthcare professionals are aware of the harmful effects these medicines can have on their patients. Therefore, they are constantly vigilant in case any side effect comes up. Nowadays, doctors combine the “latest in pain management technology with individualized attention and compassionate care for each patient.”
“Pain is complex, so there are many treatment options — medications, therapies, and mind-body techniques.” However, as technology progresses, diagnosing the proper treating method becomes more straightforward. “In the future, the use of technology will help improve the outcomes of interventional pain management techniques.” We hope our article has served as a helpful overview of how pain management works currently.