Pain is an emotion that we all experience, but pain management is not as easy as we think. Although this feeling is one of the most common symptoms of the disease, it is often not properly understood and treated. The reason for this is that each person’s experience is different. In this article, we look at the most common types of pain and suggest ways to manage them. Stay with us.
What is meant by pain management?
Pain management means controlling, reducing, or relieving pain, which can be simple or complex, depending on the cause of the pain. A wide range of skills and methods are used to treat patients’ pain, for example:
- Therapeutic interventions;
- Drug use;
- Psychological counseling;
- Referrals to other specialists.
Types of pain
Pain is a general term that can describe any unpleasant or annoying feeling in the body. There are different types and causes of pain, but in terms of pain management, it can be divided into eight general groups:
- Acute pain;
- Chronic pain;
- Sudden pain;
- Skeletal pain;
- Nerve pain;
- Imaginary pain;
- Soft tissue pain;
- Referral pain.
1. Acute pain
This type of pain starts suddenly and lasts for a short time, for example a few minutes, a few hours, a few days and sometimes 1 or 2 months. These are usually the causes of acute pain:
- Bone fracture;
- car crash;
- Burns or cuts;
- Dental procedures;
- giving birth;
۲. Chronic pain
Chronic pain bothers the patient for more than 6 months and is felt most days during this period. This pain may start as acute pain, but persists long after the injury or initial complication has healed. Chronic pain can be mild or severe and is usually caused by the following:
- back ache;
- Vascular problems;
- Muscle tissue pain;
Chronic pain can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life, preventing them from working and engaging in physical activity. In some people, this can lead to depression or social isolation.
3. Sudden pain
Sudden pain occurs in people who take painkillers to reduce chronic pain from osteoarthritis or cancer, but experience a sudden and brief increase in pain. This type of pain is also known as wave pain and can be caused by exercise or physical activity, cough, illness, stress or between doses of painkillers. This pain is usually very severe and the location of the pain is no different from the initial location of the chronic pain.
4. Bone pain
This pain is a tenderness or discomfort in one or more bones that occurs during activity or rest. Bone pain is usually caused by diseases or complications that affect bone structure or function, such as:
- Mineral deficiency;
- Sickle cell anemia;
Many pregnant women may also experience pelvic bone pain.
5. Nerve pain
Nerve pain is caused by damage or inflammation of the nerves. This pain is usually described as penetrating pain such as burning or cutting pain. Some people think of this pain as an electric shock and it is usually felt more at night.
Nerve pain can severely disrupt a person’s life and affect their sleep, work, and physical activity. This type of pain is usually sensitive to the cold and can be exacerbated by the slightest contact. Most people with chronic neuropathic pain experience anxiety or depression.
Common causes of nerve pain include:
- Damage to the brain, nerves or spinal cord;
- Vascular problems;
- Vitamin B12 deficiency.
6. Imaginary pain
In this type of pain, the person feels pain from an organ that no longer exists. Imaginary pain is common in people who have lost a part of their body. In the past, doctors believed that this pain had psychological roots, but now they have realized that it has its roots in the spinal cord and brain. This pain usually goes away over time, but managing imaginary pain is difficult for many people.
7. Soft tissue pain
This pain or irritation is caused by damage or inflammation to muscles, tissues, or tendons. Soft tissue pain is usually accompanied by swelling or bruising and is most often caused by:
- Back or neck pain;
- Inflammation of the joint sacs;
- Muscle tissue pain;
- Injury to shoulder joints;
- Seat pain;
- Sports injuries such as sprains or strains.
8. Referral pain
This pain is felt in a specific area, but is caused by injury or inflammation of another area or organ. For example:
- During a heart attack, reference pain is felt in the neck, left shoulder, and right lower arm.
- Injury or inflammation of the pancreas is usually felt as persistent pain in the upper abdomen and extends to the back.
- The pain of a torn spleen is felt in the back of the shoulder.
The reason for the referred pain is that a network of peripheral nerves travel to different tissues. Injuries to one area of the network can be misinterpreted by the brain and seen from another area.
Diagnose the type of pain
Sometimes it can be difficult to accurately diagnose the type of pain. Using a list, you can identify the type of pain and its other details.
Drug-free pain management methods
There are many non-pharmacological methods for managing pain. Usually the combination of these treatments is more effective. The following are some examples of non-pharmacological methods.
- Cold or heat: After injury, apply a cold compress quickly to reduce inflammation. Warm compresses are better for reducing joint muscle pain.
- Therapeutic Exercies: Walking, exercise, aerobic exercise and strength training can help reduce pain and boost your mood. It is better to go slowly and not to overdo it.
- MassageThis type of treatment is suitable for soft tissue injuries and should not be used for joint pain. There is evidence that massage is a good way to manage pain, but it should not be used for a long time.
- Stress management and relaxation techniques: Meditation and yoga fall into this category.
- cognitive behavioral therapy: This type of psychological therapy can help you change the way you think, feel and behave in the face of pain. This method is very important for managing chronic pain.
- Acupuncture: This method is derived from traditional Chinese medicine, and acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific areas of the skin. The goal is to balance the body and increase its healing power by creating natural painkillers (endorphins). Acupuncture reduces the severity of pain in some people and allows them to perform the necessary activities. However, research on the effect of this method on pain management has not reached a specific conclusion.
- Shock therapy: This method causes the body to have a soothing response by passing weak currents of electricity through the skin. Not enough research has been done to prove the effectiveness of shock therapy, but some people who suffer from chronic pain have been able to reduce the pain with this method.
Pain management by pharmacological methods
Many people use painkillers to reduce their pain. Types of housing are:
- Paracetamol: This drug is the first suggested option for short-term pain management.
- AspirinAspirin is used to relieve mild to moderate pain (such as menstrual cramps or headaches) and reduce fever.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Used to reduce pain and inflammation, such as ibuprofen.
- Opioid drugs such as codeine, morphine and oxycodone: These drugs are used for severe pain and pain management in cancer patients.
- Topical anesthetics (drops, sprays, creams or injections): Used when nerves are easy to access.
- Some antidepressants and anticonvulsants: Used for certain types of pain such as nerve pain.
Important points about using painkillers
To manage pain, even take over-the-counter medications with caution, and always try to consult your doctor before taking any medication. In general, we suggest that you consider the following:
- During pregnancy, do not take any painkillers without consulting your doctor. Some of these drugs can be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta and are dangerous to the fetus.
- Older people should be more careful, as they may have more complications. For example, taking aspirin for chronic pain, such as osteoarthritis, can cause severe bleeding from a stomach ulcer.
- When buying over-the-counter painkillers, talk to your pharmacist about your other medications and choose a medication that does not interact with other medications and does not pose a risk to you.
- Do not take more than one prescription drug without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. This can cause drug poisoning. For example, many cold and flu medications contain paracetamol, and you should be careful not to take any other medication that contains paracetamol.
- In case of injury during exercise, see a doctor for treatment.
- If you have a chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications.
There are several ways to manage pain, each of which is appropriate for one type of pain. It is important to know that pain relief is not the only way to get rid of pain, and there are many non-pharmacological and sports treatments.