The presence of chronic pain is, to say the least, unpleasant. When it comes to effective chronic pain treatment it is important to find a practice that understands the science behind the root of your particular pain and the way to treat it. Although it may seem like it, there is no generic, blanket way to relieve all pain for all patients.
For example, not all sources of pain are the same. Here are some common ailments that cause patients chronic pain:
- Joint pain
- Cancer pain
- Pain from scar tissue
- Muscle pain
- Tissue pain
- Pain from injuries
This list can go on, but if you look at the different causes of these types of pain it is easy to see that not all of them will be treated the same way. The pain caused by an old injury, such as a broken bone, is not the same kind of pain that is caused by a burn injury.
Regardless of the type of pain that the patient is experiencing and the source of that pain, a respectable treatment center for pain will take the time to understand the specific needs of the patient and work around any obstacles that may be in the way of pain relief.
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Different Types of Pain
There are 5 basic types of pain that can come from a plethora of sources. It takes a skilled physician to be able to determine what type of pain the patient is experiencing and the best way to relieve that pain.
Here are five types of pain that pain management doctors see on a common basis:
- Chronic pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Acute pain
- Radicular pain
- Nociceptive pain
In the past, many doctors would simply prescribe pain medication to alleviate the pain, but some types of pain medication can be extremely addictive and cause even worse problems than the pain itself.
When you visit a practice that provides treatment for chronic pain make sure that the people treating you know what type of pain you are experiencing, the source of the pain, and the best way to treat it. Otherwise, you could end up in more pain than when you first started.
Chronic pain is a generic term for any type of pain that will not go away. This kind of pain can be debilitating and cause a patient to go through severe depression. Relentless chronic pain can manifest at any place on the body from the toes to the top of the head.
A lot of the patients that suffer from chronic pain feel it in their back, neck, knees, hips, or shoulders. However, anywhere a person has pain that refuses to go away can be a miserable experience.
Some people experience chronic pain because they are overweight, a savvy treatment facility will encourage the patient to try medically-assisted weight loss to help them alleviate the pain as opposed to prescribing them pain medication.
Each of the remaining types of pain can be chronic and linger for an indeterminate amount of time. This is why it is important that when treating chronic pain that the practice that you are depending on for relief understands how pain works.
Neuropathic pain stems from a neurological issue such as nerve damage, or a problem within the central nervous system. Because this type of pain can be considered “phantom pain” it is difficult to relieve at times.
In many cases, a doctor will prescribe antidepressants or anticonvulsants to see if they help to relieve the pain before they try anything else. Of course, with nerve pain, there is always the possibility that anti-inflammatory drugs will have an effect on the pain.
Neuropathic pain can come and go at will where a sharp pain appears out of thin air and then disappears just as quickly as it came. It can also be non-stop and cause a person to have mobility issues or live in constant agony.
When seeking pain treatment for this type of pain it is important to communicate with your healthcare professional and find what works best for you in your situation.
Acute pain is what a person feels when they experience an injury of some type. It usually comes in strong, hits hard, then fades away as the injury heals. Acute pain can come from injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Ear infections
- Tooth problems
With acute pain, it is pretty simple to determine what the pain is, and where it is coming from. When there are severe injuries that take a long time to heal, acute pain can become chronic and seem like it will never go away. However, this type of pain is usually the easiest to treat and will eventually go away.
Radicular pain is one of the more common types of chronic pain. It hurts and can make a person extremely miserable. This type of pain is when there is an issue with a spinal nerve getting pinched, compressed, or inflamed.
In many cases, the pain can stem from somewhere in the back and then shoot downward through one or both of the legs all the way down to the toes.
The pain can come and go with movement, or it can stay and intensify when the body moves one way or another.
For most people, pain medication will only touch the surface of the pain because the cause of it is the nerve itself. Treating this type of pain will usually consist of stretches, massages, and other types of physical therapy.
Nociceptive pain is pain that is caused by damage to tissue in the body. This type of pain can be acute, or chronic, but it comes in different forms and fashions. For example, if a venomous snake or spider bites a person and causes both tissue and nerve damage the pain from that injury would be from damaged tissue. Where the fangs penetrated the skin, then more so from the venom that causes cell damage to the tissue around the bite.
When a person experiences a compound fracture, where the bone breaks and then protrudes from the skin, not only is there damage to the bone, but also to all of the tissue that is surrounding the bone, and the areas where the bone broke the skin.
The types of injuries that cause nociceptive pain can vary in a wide variety from broken bones to damage done by ripping off a hangnail. Whatever the cause, skin damage can be very painful.
Depending on the cause of the pain a pain treatment facility will determine the most effective way to handle the situation and relieve the pain.
Treatment With Drugs
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of drugs that a doctor can prescribe for pain. One of the most common types of pain medications for traumatic injuries is opiate-based medications such as hydrocodone (Norco) or Hydromorphone (Dilaudid).
In addition to opioids, there are also anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen. There are also analgesic drugs such as acetaminophen.
In many cases, there is a need for strong drugs to alleviate the pain because the injuries are so severe that nothing else will help. You can try all you want but when there is a serious injury such as a broken pelvis or a compound fracture of the femur no amount of stretching or aromatherapy will relieve the pain.
When it comes to chronic pain, the ongoing use of opioids has become a major concern in the United States because of how addictive the drugs are. Most of the chronic pain treatment centers in the country have had to steer away from prescribing strong pain medication.
Treatment with Therapy
What many people reluctantly learn about chronic pain is that they have the ability to put it to rest with proper diet and exercise. A reputable agency will always look for holistic ways to alleviate chronic pain before they choose to prescribe opioid-based medication.
One of the main causes of chronic pain is that the muscles contract in sensitive areas such as the lower back, the shoulders, and the neck. Another popular cause of chronic pain is that the person that is experiencing the pain is overweight and the extra weight that their body is carrying around is causing problems such as excess pressure on bones and nerves.
Some of the more common treatments for chronic pain are stretching and exercises that build muscle. When a person has a weak core the spine will automatically take up the slack where the core should be engaging. When the spine does the work it can become injured and unable to heal because it has to keep engaging to help lift heavy loads, keep the body balanced, and do other chores that the core is perfectly capable of doing on its own if it is healthy.
Stretching muscles, tendons, and ligaments loosen areas that are tight and tense while strengthening the core allows the spine a break from tedious work.
Chronic pain can take all of the joy out of a person’s life. When you look for help with it there should never be any doubts about the treatment center that you visit. If you go there and the staff is anything less than compassionate, do yourself a favor and keep looking. Your chronic pain treatment should be positive, encouraging, and effective. If your pain cannot be completely removed, it should be lessened, at least, to a point where it is manageable and allows you to enjoy your life.