The IndUS Network e-magazine

Perturbing Pains

Let us talk about pain: Pain awareness and Pain management


It goes without saying that all achievements in our life are directly proportional to the hard-work we put in. Nothing comes easy or we say “No pain, No Gain”. But, coming to bodily pains, is their presentation also good enough? Yes, to some extent. When there is pain somewhere in the body, you are being informed that something is wrong somewhere and that your body needs immediate attention. So, let’s become aware of the different types of pain and their management.

Pain: Definition

Medical dictionary says “Pain is an unpleasant feeling that is conveyed to the brain by sensory neurons.” All words ending in “algia” mean pain (origin is from Greek algos)

Incidence of Pain: No two pains are same for an individual and no two individuals perceive the same intensity of pain at any time or no one can exactly specify one’s pain, leave alone comparing two pains.. People have different pain thresholds. Pain perception also depends on the place of occurrence, for ex., pain stimuli such as cutting, piercing, crushing, freezing etc cause a pain response on the skin where as some inflammation, distention, or swelling only can cause an abdominal pain.

Acute pain: Results suddenly, probably after an injury such as breaking a bone or jamming a finger where there is damage to the tissues. This can occur also after a burn injury. This pain disappears as the cause of the pain or injury heels.

Chronic Pain: Results from some chronic illness or pain disorder. This results from a degenerative disease condition or a persisting disease condition like osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, or pain due to cancer. There may even be an unidentified cause of the pain .like in several types of back pains. Psychologically, anxiety, depression can accelerate such pains. A person when undergoing treatment for chronic pain can experience a flare-up called break-through pain.

Neuropathic Pain (Neuralgia): Results from damage to the nervous system where a patient may feel immense pain response to a harmless stimuli like a light cloth weight causing an intense pain (allodynia). A mild painful stimulus like a pin prick can sometimes cause extreme pain response (hyperalgesia). After amputation of a limb, pain is perceived from that area by the nerves (Phantom limb pain). Most of the neuropathic pains are chronic and described as burning, tingling, or pins-and-needles sensation or of a stabbing nature.

Some neuropathic pain types are-Central pain syndrome (damage to central nervous system), Trigeminal neuralgia (facial nerve damage), Shingles and Postherpetic neuralgia (pain occurring along the nerve after virus infections), Complex regional pain syndrome (following a serious injury) and Peripheral neuropathic pain (nerve damage in the feet, legs, hands, or arms caused by diabetes).

Muscle Pain (Myalgia): Results as symptoms of many diseases and disorders. The most common reason for muscle pain is overuse or over-stretching of a muscle or group of muscles, but viral infections can cause a non-traumatic muscle pain or myalgia.

Some diseases causing muscle pains are--Auto-immune disorders like Systemic lupus erythematosus, Polymyalgia rheumatica, Multiple Sclerosis; Infections like Dengue, Flu, Malaria, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Polio); Rhabdomyolysis (drug-related, virus); Fibromyalgia.

Diagnosis of Pain: No one likes to put up with any unusual/abnormal pain; better not to do so, and also not to go with “wait-and-watch” mentality. Once the physician is able to get the history, location, intensity (on a pain scale of 0 to 10), and time period of the pain, he/she may advise on studies like ultrasound, x-rays, CAT scan, MRI, discography, EMG, myelograms etc. By these it may become evident whether one’s breast tenderness (Mastalgia) is due to lumps or hormonal cyclic change, or cancer. A nagging headache (Cephalgia) likewise may be ruled out for tumor and so on.

Treatment for Pain: Pains such as post-surgical are preventable to some level due to modern techniques in the medical field. Chronic and abnormal pains are difficult to treat. The success of treatment lies with the identification of the source and cause. Acupressure, Acupuncture, Yoga, Exercise/physical therapy are also useful for pain relief. The normal therapies for pain include:

1. Non-opioid analgesics include common over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil) for minor pains.

2. Narcotic analgesics are only available with a doctor's prescription (thought to induce addiction) are used for severe pain such as cancer pain. These drugs include codeine, morphine, and methadone.

3. Antiepileptic and antidepressant drugs are also used for pain relief. Chronic pain sufferers often go into depression; the antidepressants used are tricyclic antidepressants of doxepin, amitriptyline, and imipramine.. Antiepileptic drugs used are phenytoin, carbamazepine, and clonazepam.

4. Intractable or unrelenting pains are treated with injections.

5. Surgery is the last resort when other methods fail. An implanted device stops the neurotransmission of pain message by producing electrical signals.

So, let’s “take pains to” get rid of all our pains.

Watch the Video: Hip and back pain exercises

Pleasure and Pain ...

“Every nerve that can thrill with pleasure,
can also agonize with pain.

~ Horacemann,
A Few Thoughts for a Young Man

Disclaimer: The above content is provided for information and awareness purpose only. It is not prescriptive or suggestive or meant to replaces your qualified physician's advice or consultation.