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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Pain

Overview
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Pain is the result of a physiological series of electrical and chemical events that occur in the body. Pain receptors are bare nerve endings that are widely distributed throughout the body, skin and mucous membranes. When pain receptors are triggered by mechanical, chemical, or thermal stimuli, the pain signal is transmitted through the nerves to the spinal cord and to the brain. Pain attacks the human body at every vulnerable target -- muscles, bones, and joints.

Major types of pain:

  • Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. Acute pain may be caused by many events or circumstances, such as surgery, broken bones, burns or cuts, labor and childbirth, and etc. Acute pain may be mild and last just a moment, or it may be severe and last for weeks or months. In most cases, acute pain does not last longer than six months and it disappears when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed. Unrelieved acute pain, however, may lead to chronic pain.
  • Chronic pain persists despite the fact that an injury has healed. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. Physical effects include tense muscles, limited mobility, a lack of energy, and changes in appetite. Emotional effects include depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of re-injury. Such a fear may hinder a person's ability to return to normal work or leisure activities. Common chronic pain complaints include: headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves), or psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside)
Symptoms
Risk Factors

Common Causes

  • Surgery
  • Broken bones, burns or cuts
  • Labor and childbirth
  • Poor posture that can lead to pain the back, neck and shoulders.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs

Depending upon its severity, pain may be treated in a number of ways which may include one or more of the following:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen
  • Prescription pain relievers
  • Steroids
  • Analgesic creams, gels, patches
Treatment and Management
  • Eat nutritious and low fat diet
  • Maintain good posture
  • Practice good sleeping habits. Sleeping well gives the body the rest it needs and the chance to recuperate and cope against pain.
  • Exercising regularly improves muscle tone, strength, flexibility and boosts the body's natural endorphins which help in pain relief.
  • Deep breathing and meditation can help in relaxation. A couple of techniques include:
    • Guided imagery. Imagine a scene or visit a memory where you felt safe, relaxed and comfortable using all of your senses. Do at least 5 minutes everyday.
    • 4-7-8 breathing trick. This involves extending your extending your inhale for 4 seconds which forces the body to take in more oxygen; holding your breath for 7 seconds which allows for the oxygen to affect the blood stream; and exhaling for 8 seconds to help get rid of the carbon dioxide in your lungs. The controlled breathing involved in the 4-7-8 breathing trick helps the body to slow down the heart rate, increase oxygen in the blood, and relax the heart, mind and central nervous system as opposed to breathing with short, shallow intake of air.
    • Mindful meditation. Sit or lie comfortably while being aware of breathing without controlling it. Do for at least 20 minutes a day or until the body is tension free.
    • Hypnosis. It should only be done by a licensed therapist.
  • Remove stressors in life. Stress can intensify pain.
  • Let go of negative feelings such as anxiety, anger and depression.
  • These feelings can add on to stress which intensifies pain.
  • Do not smoke or drink. Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages can hinder sleep and rest, and the body's ability to fight pain.
  • Get a massage to remove knots and soothe the muscles.
  • Track activities and pain levels everyday. This gives the doctor a better understanding which activities you are having difficulty in and how to address them.
  • Perform activities that distract from pain. These activities should be enjoyable and keep you busy enough that focus on pain is lessened.

Other Treatment Options

  • Alternative treatments such as acupuncture, hypnosis, massage, or electric stimulation
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Psychological counseling
  • Behavior modification
Home Remedies
  • Heating pads or ice packs.
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