IASP (The International Association for the Study of Pain) describes pain as undesirable sensory and emotional feelings associated with potential or actual tissue injury. It is not just a physical experience. It is influenced by factors such as personality, beliefs, attitudes, and social factors that affect mental and emotional well-being. Essentially this means that two people can experience the same pain, but how they respond can be completely different. There are several different types of pain, as well.
Pain signals are mainly triggered by:
- Damage or injury to the body: For instance, a sprained or damaged ankle
- Internally produced chemicals in the body that irritate nerve endings. It can be because of an overuse injury or infection
- Injury to nerves that causes them to send pain signals to your brain without any physical damage. This happens mainly because of complex regional pain syndrome.
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Types of Pain
Pain is classified into three main categories:
- Acute pain
Patients with advanced or early-stage disease may experience cancer pain. Cancer survivors also experience this type of pain as a result of a debilitating or severe side-effect of treatment.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, lasts for longer than the expected time for healing as a result of trauma, surgery, or any other condition. Similarly, it can also be a disease on its own caused by changes within your central nervous system.
Acute pain lasts for a short time and usually occurs after a trauma or surgery. It acts as an early warning signal to the body to seek medication or help though it fades as the body heals; in some scenarios, it may not.
Causes of Pain
Some types of pain can originate from a particular injury that has since healed like severe infection or surgical incision. Other causes don’t have a specific trigger (underlying tissue damage or prior injury). However, most cases are related to these diseases and conditions:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nerve damage
- Low back pain
Treating the leading cause is obviously very important. Nonetheless, that doesn’t always alleviate pain. Most doctors today, treat pain as a disease on its own, requiring treatment that keeps in mind the patient’s psychological and physical health.
Understanding Psychology and Pain
At a basic level, anxiety is mainly a biology-related issue. Rogue nerves keep notifying your brain about a specific tissue injury that healed. Now, sophisticated psychological and social aspects also play a role in causing pain, and help ascertain who fares well and who doesn’t.
Negative emotions, such as anxiety, sadness, may aggravate pain. For instance, those who focus on their discomfort are often affected more by pain than those who take their pain more positively. Similarly, patients with the condition as a result of a work-related injury and report job satisfaction fare much better than those who say they don’t like their jobs.
Effective management or counter of pain requires a multifaceted approach. It should consider emotional, social, and physical factors. It’s a complicated puzzle for physicians and patients alike. Different types of pain may require different treatments. But understanding the leading causes of the pain as well as the emerging techniques and therapies to counter them, it is possible to not only manage the pain but also overcome it. To help you solve this complicated terrain, here are tips, advice, and lifestyles changes:
Get Some Gentle Exercise
Simple, regular exercises like swimming, walking, gardening can help ease pain by blocking pain signals to your brain. They also help reduce pain by stretching tense and stiff muscles, joints, and ligaments. It’s normal to feel more pain at the beginning, and you may be tempted to quit for fear of doing more harm than good.
However, if you are resilient and become more active eventually, it’s unlikely you will do any harm or damage. The initial pain you experience is because the joints and muscles are getting fitter. At the end of the day, the benefits you will accrue far outweigh any pain.
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Switch your mind to something else such that the pain you are currently feeling is not the only thing occupying your mind. Do something that you enjoy. It can be knitting, swimming, or photography. They are possible, even for those that their mobility is limited.
When experiencing different types of pain, we tend to focus on what we are not able to do. Shifting your concentration on what you can actually do, instead of what you cannot, is a more positive approach to life and the world. Think about all the things you are thankful for. Yes, you have limitations, but that does not mean somebody else is better than you.
Medication is also an option to counter pain. Your physician may prescribe pain relievers such as naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, and aspirin to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve sleep quality
- Reduce muscular aches
They help ease fatigue and pain. Make sure you talk to your doctor about the side effects of taking antidepressants for pain. They can cause loss of sexual desire, weight gain, and nausea in some people.
Talk to Family and Friends
Do not allow the pain to make you cut or minimize contact with people. Talking to family and friends is right for you and may help you feel better. Try short visits often. If you cannot move around, call a friend, or invite them for a chat or tea. Talk about anything apart from your pain.
Research has shown that people who participate in yoga classes experience enhanced mood and reduced fatigue and pain. The specific exercises include:
- Group discussions
- Gentle poses
- Breathing exercises
These practices increase muscle strength, incorporate meditation, and teach various relaxation techniques. Just make sure the yoga instructor knows your condition so that they can change the posses as required for you.
Breathe in deeply and hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then exhale. To help you concentrate, use a word to guide you. For example, you can breathe in ‘relaxation’ and breathe out ‘stress.’ Some tablets and apps use images and sound to help you maintain proper breathing rhythms.
- Acupuncture can also help relieve pain. It entails pricking certain parts of the body with needles to
- Encourage blood flow
- Promote self-healing
- Counter various health conditions such as chronic pain
- Adjust levels of neurotransmitters in the brain
Research done by the Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine shows those patients with chronic pain who tried acupuncture benefited from pain relief for over two years. If you can’t tolerate the pricking, acupressure may be an effective alternative. Risks of the solution include bruising, minor bleeding, and soreness after treatment. Also, make sure your acupuncture provider is authorized to reduce the chances of infection from unsterilized equipment.
Physical therapy’s primary goal is to strengthen muscles and increase range of motion. This plays a critical role in minimizing pain. A therapist can customize a program to help relieve or manage pain or teach self-care methods, including pain education, to help patients manage pain and fatigue on their own. Similarly, research shows that pain education can lead to enhanced performance during workouts.
Is Pain Preventable?
Although you cannot prevent aging, change your genetic makeup or an accidental injury, lifestyle changes can help you avoid different types of pain:
- Stop smoking or vaping
- Stay active
- Apply ergonomic factors to your workplace
- Use proper body and posture mechanics
- Lose weight
- Improve physical fitness
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Many types of pain are very well manageable by different means. If you suffer from pain, contact Mango Clinic Miami and schedule your appointment today; call us at (786) 422-9327.