There are quite a number of people who experience pain on a daily basis. The cause may vary: it could be due to stress or strain, injury, or disease. Regardless, any pain that has been persisting for more than three months is considered to be chronic. Chronic pain may sometimes be defined particularly with the help of tests and examinations that point to the existence of a disease condition, however, in cases where no underlying condition can be traced, chronic pain per se is considered to be the disease.
Chronic pain can cause discomfort, disability, and a lack of productivity among many individuals. The inability to resolve the pain may even cause some to undergo depression due to many frustrated attempts at treating the pain. The following are some of the effects of chronic pain:
- Lack of interest in eating
- Decreased libido
- Sleeping difficulties or insomnia
- Inability to participate in social circles
- Inability to deliver occupational roles
True enough, having chronic pain can be a real source of stress. It can be costly to deal with, especially if one is not wise enough in acquiring the right kind of help and applying the right pain management strategies.
If you have been experiencing unexplained pain for a while now, then maybe the best thing to do is to ask for professional medical help. You could be suffering from an underlying disease that requires immediate treatment, or the pain you are experiencing might only be resolved with professional medical intervention.
Upon your first consultation with your doctor, you will be subjected to a series of tests and physical examinations that will help in determining the cause of your pain. Expect the following questions to be asked by your doctor on your first consultation:
- The region affected by pain
- Onset of pain
- Quality of pain (e.g. sharp, stabbing, dull, throbbing)
- Factors affecting the intensity of pain
- Your level of dependence in carrying out activities of daily living
- Pain medications that you have been taking
Pain can be addressed in a myriad of ways. It can be resolved with physical therapy, medication therapy, alternative medicine, and even surgery. There are pain clinics that are composed of a team of pain management professionals who can plan out an effective treatment plan for you. This may be a combination of the different aforementioned pain management methods, depending on what is best suited for your case. If you don’t know a clinic in your locality, then you can talk to your primary care doctor who might be able to give you referrals.
Aside from physical therapy and alternative medicine, the most immediate solution to pain is usually medication therapy. The following are some of the most common pain medications:
This type of drug helps reduce pain and fever that may go with it. Unlike NSAIDs, though, they do not reduce inflammation. Caution should be taken by patients who take acetaminophen with high doses of alcohol, as it can damage the liver.
Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs and acetaminophen are pretty much like each other, except that NSAIDs, as their name implies, help reduce inflammation. They are generally effective in curing pain, but stomach irritation is a typical side effect of long-term use.