We all experience pain at some or the other stage of life. Pain is defined as an unpleasant feeling and mental experience associated to tissue damage. It’s a response to evoke you and the body to do something about the tissue damage and prevent it from happening further. It’s sent to the brain as a signal through nerve fibers. Earth’s Wisdom will guide you today about pain and pain management.
The problem with pain is that everyone feels and describes it in a different way and so, it’s a bit difficult to treat pain. Manifestation of pain is also not stereotype as its duration can be short or long, and position can be only one point or throughout the body.
Pain arises when specialized nerves that find tissue damage send signals to convey information about the harm to the brain along the spinal cord. The specialized nerves are called nociceptors. The brain may secret feel-good chemicals like dopamine to overcome the unpleasant outcomes of the pain.
Pain can basically be of two types: acute or chronic.
Acute pain is often the one which is forceful and short-term. It’s the mechanism through which the body alerts the person about a localized tissue damage or injury. If the underlying tissue damage is treated, this kind of pain is relieved.
Acute pain triggers body’s fight-or-flight response; so, there is often an increase in breathing rate and heartbeats.
Acute pain is of the following types:
Somatic pain is felt only at the superficial level i.e. on the skin or in the soft tissues just under the skin.
Referred pain is the one that is felt at a different location than the actual point of tissue damage. E.g. pain is felt in shoulder or chin during a heart attack.
Visceral pain is the one that starts in the internal organs as well as linings of cavities inside the body.
Chronic pain lasts much longer than acute pain and usually cannot be easily resolved. Its manifestation can also be different as it can be severe or mild, intermittent like in migraine or continuous as in arthritis. In case of chronic pain, the ‘fight-or-flight’ mechanism ultimately stops as the sympathetic nervous system that activates this mechanism acclimates to the pain stimulus.
Various kinds of pain should be treated in varying ways. A treatment able to relieve one kind of pain may not be able to relieve another kind.
Acute pain is usually treated with medicines.
NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are a type of painkiller or analgesic that can lessen pain and enable the patient to restore to daily activities. These are right for minor acute pains like light sprains, backaches or headaches. They can relieve pain arising from swelling and localized inflammation and can give side effects in the digestive tract. So, you should read the instructions carefully on the package and never take more than the recommended dosage.
For the most severe acute pains including the ones after burns, surgery, bone fractures and cancer, opioids are prescribed. But these are highly addictive, give rise to withdrawal symptoms and reduce effectiveness over time.
There are a number of non-drug treatments to relieve pain, including:
Acupuncture: Certain pressure points are punctured in this therapy using needles and that creates an analgesic effect.
Relaxation Therapies: Relaxation techniques include yoga, hypnosis, meditation, distraction techniques, tai chi and massage therapy.
Psychotherapy: This is a therapy that deals with the emotional side of continuous pain. Everyday activities and enjoyment can be hugely affected with chronic pain and that also affect work. With the help of psychotherapy, understanding can be enhanced and lifestyle changes can be put in place.
Nerve Blocks: These are injections that can numb a set of nerves that work as a source of pain.
Biofeedback: With biofeedback, a patient can better control their organs and processes like heart rate with their thoughts.
Plus, there are many other techniques such as physical manipulation, hot and cold packs, TENS, rest and even surgery. Discuss with your doctor and get your pain treated to live a comfortable life.
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