Pain is one of the most common symptoms that people experience. It can last for a short time and go away when you heal or last for months or years (chronic pain).
Everyone experiences pain differently. So explaining your pain when you talk with your doctor is essential.
What is pain?
Pain is an unpleasant sensation that occurs when something hurts. It can feel like a prick, sting, ache, pinch, or burn.
Almost everyone experiences pain at some point in their lives. It’s a standard way the body tells us something is wrong, but it can also be challenging to understand and treat.
A person’s pain perception depends on how their brain receives and interprets signals from pain-sensitive nerve cells called pain receptors. When the nerves get excited, they release chemicals that travel up to the brain.
The brain then interprets this information and sends it to other body parts. This explains why pain is often felt in different body areas or across multiple joints and organs.
Types of pain
Pain is a widespread and sometimes confusing experience. It can come in pricking, stinging, burning, shooting, aching or electric sensations and may be accompanied by emotional distress.
A person’s pain can impact their quality of life, such as sleep, mood, relationships with others, memory, concentration and ability to work. It can also make it easier to develop mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.
Different types of pain can have other causes, and each type may need treatment differently. Understanding the differences can help your doctor select a treatment that best addresses your pain.
Causes of pain
Pain is an uncomfortable feeling that signals something in your body isn’t right. It can vary in intensity and duration, from mild to explosive, and may come on quickly or stay for long periods.
Acute pain usually occurs suddenly due to an injury, illness, or inflammation. It often improves independently, but sometimes it can become chronic pain lasting more than six months.
The effects of chronic pain can significantly impact your physical and emotional well-being; affect your relationships with family, friends, and coworkers; and limit your ability to participate in your daily life activities.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, seeking help is essential. Find support from your family, friends, and a mental health professional who can help you understand your condition and navigate its challenges.
Treatments for pain
Many effective treatments for pain can help you live an everyday, active life. Your healthcare provider can work with you and refer you to pain management specilaist like Jordan Sudberg to create a personalized treatment plan for your needs.
A good pain management strategy uses various strategies, including medications and non-drug therapies. These therapies include biofeedback, acupuncture, exercise and mind/body techniques.
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are effective for mild to moderate pain with swelling and inflammation, such as arthritis and muscle sprains or strains. Your doctor can prescribe NSAIDs.
Other pain-relieving medications include acetaminophen, Tylenol(r), anticonvulsants and antidepressants. Opioids, such as morphine and fentanyl, can be used for severe pain but can become habit-forming.
Other nondrug therapies include massage, chiropractic and osteopathic (bone) manipulation, therapeutic touch and certain herbal medicines. These treatments are not backed by much scientific research, but they may help some people manage their pain.