Pain and its management
Pain is not just an uncomfortable feeling. Pain can have a profound effect on your overall well-being. This can also cause mental conditions like anxiety and depression. Your doctor can learn a lot from the amount of Pain that you are experiencing.
Acute Pain occurs suddenly and usually within a few days or weeks. The Pain usually subsides within a couple of weeks.
Chronic Pain is persistent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic Pain lasts over 3 months.
The methods of pain relief from home treatments, prescriptions, and over-the-counter to invasive procedures surgery.
What are the different types of Pain?
Pain can be classified into two types: nociceptive Pain OR neuropathic Pain.
Nociceptive Pain is a response of the nervous system that protects your body. You pull your hand away from a hot pot to not get burned. The Pain of a sprained foot forces you to take time off and let the injury heal.
Neuropathic Pain differs from other types of Pain because no known benefits exist. This Pain may be caused by misinterpreting signals between the nerves and your brain or spinal cord. The brain misinterprets nerve signals as Pain.
Examples of neuropathic symptoms include:
- Postherpetic Neuralgia
- diabetic neuropathy
- carpal tunnel syndrome
Find the source of your pain to get relief.
What are the signs that you should see a physician for Pain?
If you are experiencing pain, make an appointment to see your doctor.
- Hasn’t disappeared after 2 weeks
- What is causing your stress, anxiety, or depression?
- You can’t relax or sleep
- Stops you from exercising or taking part in your normal activities
- Hasn’t improved after any treatment you’ve tried
OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are available without a prescription.
COX-1 and COX-2 are substances that NSAIDs inhibit. They reduce Pain caused by inflammation.
These medications are useful for:
- Muscle aches
- Menstrual Pain
- Sprains and minor injuries
NSAIDs are commonly used to treat:
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- naproxen (Aleve)
Only take the recommended amount of pain relief on the package. Too much use of these drugs may increase the risk of side effects.
Some of the side effects include:
- kidney injury
- excessive bleeding
- stomach ulcers
Some stronger pain relievers are not available over-the-counter. NSAIDs, such as diclofenac (Voltaren), can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription.
Celecoxib, a selective COX-2 inhibitor (Celebrex), can also treat inflammation-related Pain. Only a prescription is needed to purchase this medication.
Stronger opioids, such as hydrocodone or oxycodone, treat severe pain from surgeries or serious injuries. These drugs are closely related to opium, an illicit drug. These medications tend to have a euphoric feeling while relieving Pain.
Opioids are addictive and can pose a risk. The drugs create a pleasant feeling that people want to repeat over and over while also causing tolerance.
Corticosteroids suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. These drugs reduce pain by reducing inflammation.
Steroids are prescribed by doctors to treat inflammation, such as inflammatory arthritis. Steroids include:
- hydrocortisone (Cortef)
- methylprednisolone (Medrol)
- prednisolone (Prelone)
- prednisone (Deltasone)
Side effects of corticosteroids include:
- Weight gain
- Sleeping Problems
- Mood changes
- fluid retention
- High blood sugar
- Increased risk of infection
Preventing side effects can be achieved by taking the lowest dose possible for the shortest time.
Opioids are potent pain relievers. Some are derived from the poppy. Some are made in laboratories. These are synthetic opioids.
You can use opioids for acute pain relief, such as after surgery. You can also take them for a long time to manage chronic Pain.
They are available in both immediate-release and prolonged-release formulations. They’re sometimes combined with other pain relievers, such as acetaminophen.
You can find opioids in the following:
- buprenorphine (Buprenex, Butrans)
- Fentanyl (Duragesic),
- hydrocodone-acetaminophen (Vicodin)
- hydromorphone (Exalgo ER)
- Meperidine (Demerol),
- Oxymorphone (Opana).
- tramadol (Ultram)
Opioids are highly addictive, even though they are effective. Misuse of opioids can cause serious side effects, an overdose, or even death.
Opioids may cause other side effects as well, such as:
- Confusing words and phrases
- Overdose can be deadly.
- Slower breathing can cause hypoxia which may result in brain damage or coma.
- substance use disorder
- Sharing drug-injecting equipment increases your risk of contracting an infectious disease.
- If you use marijuana during pregnancy, it can cause a loss of pregnancy, low birth weight, or withdrawal symptoms in the baby at birth.
Antidepressants are used to treat depression but can also be helpful for chronic Pain caused by conditions like migraines and nerve damage.
The exact mechanism of action for these drugs to reduce Pain is still unknown. These drugs may reduce Pain by increasing the activity of chemical messengers in the brain and spine.
The doctors prescribe different antidepressant groups to treat Pain.
- Tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine, nortriptyline, and desipramine are available.
- SSRIs, such as fluoxetine and paroxetine, are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Antidepressants may cause adverse effects such as:
- Sleeping Problems
- Dry mouth
Inform your doctor of any side effects. If side effects persist, your doctor may adjust the dosage or switch you to a different antidepressant.
The drugs that are used to treat seizures can also be used to relieve nerve pain. The nerves are damaged by conditions like diabetes, shingles, or fibromyalgia. They also become oversensitive and send out too many pain signals.
Anticonvulsants are not known to work exactly against Pain. These drugs are believed to block abnormal signals of Pain between damaged nerves, the brain and spinal cord, and the damaged nerves.
Anti-seizure medications that treat Pain include:
- carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- gabapentin (Neurontin)
- Phenytoin (Dilantin),
- Pregabalin (Lyrica),
These drugs cause adverse effects such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusing words and phrases
Anti-seizure medications may also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or suicide. While you are taking these medications, your doctor will keep an eye on you for any side effects.
Cannabis has been used to treat Pain by people for thousands of year
Certain compounds found in cannabis could be responsible for the pain-relieving properties.
CBD is not euphoric or a depressant.
You may want to consider CBD if you are interested in cannabis’ potential pain-relieving properties.
CBD may reduce inflammation and Pain in patients with malignant diseases by affecting the endocannabinoid system’s activity in the body and brain.
The study focused on the possible pain-relieving effect of CBD combined with tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component in cannabis.
In humans, researchers found that a nasal spray containing CBD and THC at a ratio of 1:1 may help to manage chronic neuropathic discomfort.
Scientists must continue exploring CBD’s potential in various applications, such as pain management.
The following side effects may occur:
- You can check out our other products.
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Potential interactions between specific medications
Discuss your options and the safety of CBD.
Make sure to also check the local CBD laws and restrictions.
Cold and Heat
A hot compress or ice pack is a simple way to relieve minor discomfort.
Cold therapy reduces blood vessel size. This helps to reduce inflammation and swelling and also numbs the Pain. It is most effective when used immediately after an injury or when a painful condition, like gouty osteoarthritis, flares up.
Heat therapy increases blood flow in the area of injury. This helps to relax tight muscles. Heat can be applied in two ways: dry heat with a heating pack or pad or moist warmth from a warm washcloth or bath. Heat can relieve Pain that lasts more than a couple of weeks.
Apply heat or cool for 15 minutes each time. Repeat this several times a day.
If you have diabetes or any other condition affecting your ability to feel or circulate blood, be cautious.
You might feel tempted to rest until your Pain subsides. It’s for this reason that doctors would recommend rest to people who are in Pain. Newer research contradicts this.
According to a 2017 review, exercise can be an effective way of reducing Pain. Exercise may improve physical function as well as quality of life. Exercise has few side effects other than muscle soreness.
Researchers say that while many studies on the effects of physical activity on chronic Pain have poor quality research, most of them suggest that it can reduce Pain.
Aerobic exercise can also help you lose weight. If you suffer from osteoarthritis, this could help relieve the Pain in your joints. Your body may heal damaged spinal discs with resistance training.
Physical therapy (PT), or manual therapy, combines education and hands-on manipulation. Experts recommend PT to prescription pain pills. It is a pain-relieving method that does not have the side effects of medication or the possibility of addiction.
Physical therapists will help you improve your flexibility and strength to move easier. Physical therapy sessions can help loosen up tight muscles and increase your tolerance to Pain.
Physical therapy can be used to treat a variety of painful conditions.
- Postsurgical Pain
Yoga is a combination of poses, deep breathing, and meditation. Researchers have only recently begun to realize yoga’s full potential as a health intervention.
Yoga improves posture in addition to strengthening, balance, and flexibility. A better posture can help relieve many pains and aches associated with muscle tension.
Yoga can help people with chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, backache, and fibromyalgia.
It needs to be clarified how it works. It could work by releasing natural chemicals that relieve Pain called endorphins or by encouraging a relaxed state.
Music can also relieve pain, partly because it reduces stress and helps you deal with discomfort more effectively.
Listening to classical music (Turkish), in a small study, reduced the pain scores of people suffering from nerve damage. The more participants listened to the music, the less pain they felt.
People with chronic Pain, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis, could feel more relaxed and less anxious.
A therapist will use pressure and rubbing to relax and loosen tight muscles. This practice can help relieve aches and pains by blocking pain signals. It also reduces stress. Massages can also help loosen tight muscles by increasing blood flow.
Massage has no side effects. There are almost no risks except for the following:
- Skin rash
- Certain types of cardiovascular disease
Check with your doctor if you suffer from chronic conditions which could make massages uncomfortable or not recommended. Your massage therapist can modify the technique if you have a chronic condition.
Massage therapists apply varying pressures, ranging from light touches to deep muscle techniques. The choice you make depends on your tolerance level and personal preferences.
Pain relief: a new outlook
Chronic Pain is an important health concern. According to the CDC, it is one of the main reasons for chronic Pain.
There are many non-addictive pain relievers available. Find the right medication for you by working with your doctor.
Alternative therapies are also available to relieve chronic Pain. Exercise, massage, and yoga can improve your quality of life without harmful side effects.