Available Treatments For Chronic Pain

Available treatments for chronic pain

The medical language defines chronic pain as the pain that persists in a person for 3 to 6 months or more caused by an injury. The International Association for the study of pain classifies chronic pain as pain without biological value, continued even after the normal tissue healing. In other words, the pain that seems to last much longer than expected can be characterized as chronic pain syndrome. This sort of torment can affect the quality of the person’s life alongside causing mental disturbance.

The pain sensation begins as the nervous system sends signals to the area injured triggering the pain sensors alerting that you have been hurt. Usually these messages sent out by the brain comes to a stop when the injury has been completely healed but in case of chronic pain the brain still sends such messages even though the wound has completely healed.

Chronic pain has no fixed point of origin. Most common points of origin could be brain, spinal cord or the body. Various medications are prescribed, based on the reasons for generating the pain whether it was a damaged tissue or entirely neuropathic.

People suffering from this condition are generally vulnerable to depression, anxiety, disrupted sleep, fatigue or mood swings. The amount of physical activity engaged in gradually reduces due to the overpowering uncertainties of worsening the pain, often leading to weight gain, loss of stamina, reduced flexibility, loss of strength and energy moving towards dissatisfaction and disability. Chronic pain may be caused by an initial injury, like a back sprain, or may be an ongoing illness.

The severity of the pain, pain tolerance, and resilience to pain is attained by the kind of support that a person with chronic pain is given by their inmates.

Chronic pain syndrome can be classified into many sub categories like:

  • Primary pain: the pain that is prolonged for 3 months.
  • Cancer pain: the chronic pain in this condition could be related to treatment of cancer or cancer itself.
  • Post-traumatic pain: pain existing in a person for 3 months after undergoing a surgery or physical trauma.
  • Neuropathic pain: the damaged somatosensory nervous system leads to this condition causing pain.
  • Headache and orofacial pain: pain is felt for half or more than half the number of days over a time period of 3 months, originating either in the head or face.
  • Visceral pain: in this condition the pain begins in any internal organ of the body.
  • Musculoskeletal pain: here the pain begins either in the bones, joints, muscles or the connective tissues.

Chronic pain can be further divided as nociceptive and visceral.

  • Nociceptive is which occurs because of tissues that are damaged provoking nociceptors and neuropathic that happens when there is malfunctioning or damage caused to the nervous system. Nociceptive is categorized as superficial pain and deep pain. Superficial pain is caused by triggering the nociceptors present in the tissues or the skin.
  • Deep pain is classified into somatic and visceral. Somatic occurs with the activation of nociceptors existing in the bones, tendons muscles, ligaments and blood vessels. Visceral is difficult to trace.

Neuropathic pain can be diversified into peripheral pain which affects the peripheral nervous system first and central pain that the brain or spinal cord first experiences.

There is no test that can measure and trace the pain with accuracy.  So, medical professionals rely on the patient’s own description of the pain like the type, timing, and area in pain whether the pain is sharp or dull, constant or irregular or inflaming or aching can help in giving an idea for cause of the pain. This is the initial stage in the diagnosis of pain.

As chronic pain can occur in a various of places in the body for different reasons, therefore the patients and their doctors need to draw a conclusion wherein they identify the causes and symptoms and as to how the pain can be relieved.

The main motive of treatment is to reduce chronic pain and improve the person’s condition, so that they can get back to their routine. There are a number of options for the treatment of chronic pain. The selection from the alternative treatments of chronic pain rely on the intensity of pain.

  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): this mode of treatment for chronic pain has been effective in the neuropathy cases. Radiofrequency Ablation targets the nerves that transmits pain messages to the brain. The doctor will use a needle with a tip that heats up and is placed really close to this nerve. The heat destructs it and obstructs the nerve from being able send the pain signals.
  • Pain Shots: In this treatment, the doctor usually utilizes an X-ray to detect where to put the medicine for chronic pain. Steroids and local anesthetics or painkillers are often used as a combination, since local anesthetics numb the nerve or muscle while steroids relax the burning sensation, which reduces pain.

The most commonly prescribed medication by doctors is opioids for the treatment of chronic pain. They obstruct or minimize the pain signals.

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