What is pain? Pain is the body’s natural response to any injury or illness. It points out that something is wrong with the body. Once the cause is removed or heals, the pain vanishes away. But, if the pain persists for a longer period after the cause is removed, it is known as chronic pain, usually lasting between three to six months.
What is the Terrible Triad?
Terrible triad is a term used to define pain that alters daily life activities. For example, one can be occupied with depression and irritation due to the constant suffering of chronic pain. Depression further leads to insomnia, tiredness, and irritability. This whole vicious cycle of suffering is referred to as the terrible triad.
What is Chronic Pain Syndrome?
Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS) has become a major problem around the globe and is a challenge for healthcare providers to treat. The reason is that chronic pain comes with a complex history and unclear etiology. Chronic pain syndrome occurs when one begins to feel depression, anxiety, and pain.
These feelings tend to affect an individual’s daily chores. Chronic pain syndrome is considered pain that persists for over six months, although the duration is arbitrary. CPS is a combination of multiple problems not cured by medical practices. Therefore, it has to be managed by a multidisciplinary approach with better integration with various organs.
What is Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome?
Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a type of chronic pain that affects the limbs. It is mainly due to an injury or can be due to a stroke or heart attack. The pain does not mimic the severity of the initial injury or trauma.
The etiology of chronic regional pain syndrome is not clearly understood. However, it is said that the pain occurs due to nerve trauma, also called a neuropathic disorder. The symptoms are not proportionate and tend to heal when the nerve regenerates.
The symptoms of CRPS vary from person to person and may also change as time flies. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Touch and cold sensitivity
- Swelling of the affected area
- Burning or throbbing pain.
- Altered skin temperature, skin color, and texture
- Hair and nail growth changes
- Stiffness and swelling of joints
- Spasms in muscles and muscle weakness
- Limited mobility of the affected part
What is the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain?
Pain is unwanted, unpleasant, and uncomfortable for one suffering from it. However, pain can also be a blessing in disguise, as it can alarm us of any underlying disorder. Pain can range from mild to moderate or severe, depending on the root cause. Pain is subdivided into acute pain and chronic pain.
- Acute pain
A specific reason causes acute pain. For example, it may be due to a fractured bone, any cut in the body, or even labor pains during delivery that is considered acute. Acute pain is a warning sign that the health of the body is compromised.
Acute pain is sharp and sudden. The pain is localized so that one can pinpoint the location of the pain. It is considered to last from the day of onset up to 12 weeks. The pain is considered to vanish once the cause of the pain is withdrawn. The pain does not last long; it can be during the day or night, lasting for a few hours to minutes or seconds.
- Chronic Pain
Any ongoing pain for more than three months is considered chronic pain. Chronic pain is diffused; one cannot pinpoint the origin of pain; hence often misdiagnosed. Chronic pain can be due to an underlying issue that cannot heal. Headaches, arthritis, myalgias, and persistent back pains are common causes of chronic pain.
Patients often prefer creams, ointments, and over-the-counter OTC painkillers to find peace out of pain, but long-term use of such medications is prohibited. Physiotherapy is considered to be effective in such cases. Chronic pain often reduces the quality of life for such people and makes it challenging to manage daily household chores.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
There are various reasons for chronic pain to arise. It can be due to nerve pain, muscle or joint abnormalities, osteoporosis, arthritis, or cancer. There can also be a possibility that chronic pain has no specific origin.
If one undergoes an injury, nerves carry signals to the brain that tells that a problem has occurred. It is interpreted as pain in the brain. But if chronic pain persists, the brain acts in an unusual pattern to understand the pain, leading to more sensitivity to pain. Acute pain, if left untreated, can also develop into chronic pain.
Chronic Pain and Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural body’s immune response to fight against harmful substances or injuries. It can be infections, toxins, or injuries that tend to heal themselves. As an injury damages the cells, certain chemicals are released that trigger a response from the body’s immune system. The release of antibodies and proteins increases blood flow to the affected area.
When inflammation is left untreated or ignored, the body is constantly alert, leading to chronic inflammation within the body. As the body tries to heal itself, it may harm the tissues and organs of your body. As a result, one may feel tired, anxious, depressed, have GI disorders, or experience weight loss due to chronic inflammation.
Watch this video: Understanding Chronic Pain
Chronic Pain Management
As far as chronic pain management is concerned, medicines alone are not a definitive treatment plan. There are other approaches too to treating chronic pain. Physical therapy and self-management are necessary to treat chronic pain. There are multiple approaches to treating chronic pain with self-management, which include:
- Help from a psychologist.
- Physiotherapy sessions.
- Keeping up the activity pace.
- Exercise such as walking or cycling.
- Sleep improvement.
Certain medications also help lower your suffering from chronic pain. These medicines may include
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Pain is the body’s natural response to an infection or an injury. Therefore as the cause is removed, the pain should subside. But, for some individuals, the pain may not reduce and continue for months. As a result, doctors have classified this long-suffering pain as chronic pain.
Chronic pain has its name for negatively affecting a person’s mental, physical, and emotional strength. It may further lead to depression and anxiety. As these symptoms merge, it is stated as chronic pain syndrome. It may require physical therapy, medications, and mental and moral support to overcome suffering. Visit Eve Pacific Health to learn more.