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An Introduction to Pain Management: How To Deal With Pain

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@juxtathinkaJuxtathinka

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Pain is a unique feeling, but it is common to us all. Everyone at some specific point in their life has experienced pain: you will likely agree with me and testify to the fact that pain is indeed an unpleasant feeling.

Yet it is a necessary evil, a protective mechanism from injury, and in some cases a sign of healing. 

In this article, we will discuss pain management, how to deal with pain, and 5 common types of pain:

  1. Acute
  2. Chronic
  3. Neuropathic
  4. Nociceptive
  5. Radicular

5 Types of Pain

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To understand pain properly, you need to know that there are five types of pain. They are acute pain, chronic pain, neuropathic pain, nociceptive pain, and radicular pain. 

1. Acute Pain: When you think of acute pain, think of sharp pain and short duration. Acute pain is a warning to the body that injury has occurred and it usually goes away within three to six months. Once the source of the pain is treated, acute pain disappears. Acute pain can be caused by cuts, fevers, infections, fractures, and menstrual cramps, and more.

2. Chronic Pain: Chronic pain usually lasts beyond six months even when the sufferer has been treated for the pain. The pain may be sharp, burning, or dull. Chronic pain usually occurs after an initial injury and it is because your brain continues to send signals to the pain receptors even after the source of the pain is removed.

3. Neuropathic Pain: Neuropathic pain is usually chronic and it comes with a burning sensation in some cases. In other cases, it could be a tingling or stabbing sensation. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nerves and it is felt in the skin supplied by the damaged nerve. Neuropathic pain may go away on its own, but when it stays it can be quite severe.

4. Nociceptive Pain: Nociceptive pain is seen in injuries that result in inflammation. Most sports injuries produce nociceptive pain and the sensation could be dull, sharp, prickling, stabbing, or burning. Nociceptive pain is caused by the activation of nociceptors: pain receptors that send a message to the brain when there is cellular and tissue damage in the body.

5. Radicular Pain: Radicular pain is pain that moves from your back to the hip, back of the thigh, calf, and foot. It produces the sensation of heaviness, burning, and numbness of the affected area. Radicular pain is caused by a compression or inflammation of a nerve root in the spinal cord.

The Concept Of Pain Threshold And Tolerance

Pain threshold is an interesting concept: it is used to describe the minimum level of pain that is required for someone to respond. It could be heat or pressure and it varies from person to person.

On the other hand, pain tolerance is the maximum amount of pain a person can tolerate. In pain tolerance, the person may be aware of the painful stimulus but they bear it. Someone with a low pain tolerance level may require a pinprick from a needle to yelp while someone with a higher pain tolerance level may require a door slam on their hand to feel pain. Pain tolerance and threshold are dependent on gender, genetics, and person.

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For example, females are more likely to feel pain than males. Paradoxically, during childbirth females have a higher pain threshold. Genetics plays a role in pain sensitivity: some people are more likely to feel pain than others. In addition, anxiety, stress, and chronic illness may increase pain sensitivity in some persons. Pain tolerance and threshold may be improved by training, yoga, and exercise. However, having a very high pain threshold may be detrimental to an individual's health: pain helps us know that there is an injury or inflammation in the cells of the body. This means that if you rarely feel pain, you are less likely to know that you have a health problem and less likely to get yourself checked at the hospital at the proper time.

Principle of Pain Management

Pain is a complex response of the cells of the human body to inflammation or injury and the sensations vary from person to person. 

Pain management is dependent on several factors such as the duration of the pain, the frequency of the pain, characteristics of the pain, aggravating factors, relieving factors, the condition of the patient, and the type of pain. 

Acute and chronic pain may differ in terms of management and the characteristics of pain may help identify the source. The person will also be advised to avoid situations that worsen the pain and seek relief when the pain comes. 

The relief may come in the form of ice packs, changing sleeping positions, or oral medication.  In most cases of pain, the oral route of drug administration is used because it is less invasive, cheap, and easy to administer. 

The condition of the patient is very important: if an individual cannot take in food or medication by mouth, giving them a tablet or capsule is out of the way. If a person has a peptic ulcer, it is not likely that the person will be given a drug like aspirin or diclofenac even if these drugs help relieve pain: they will worsen the person's condition.

How To Deal With Pain

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Dealing with pain means coming to terms with the truth: everyone will feel pain at some point in their lives. However, pain is a sign that your body is trying to heal. 

If you notice any pain that doesn't go away within days, go to the nearest hospital and see a doctor. There, you will receive adequate treatment.

In addition, remember that everyone has a different pain threshold. Do not think that your friend is whining about the cut on his finger: he may just feel the pain more strongly than you do. When you feel pain, be patient with yourself.

This too will pass.

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