Your perception of pain is nothing like what anybody else will ever experience. It is a unique type of feeling. But universally it is a hurtful sensation of varying degrees.
Despite pain’s unpleasantness, it is a health promoting vibe that alerts you regarding some sort of potential or actual damage to your body. A fantastic warning mechanism in reference to an injury or disease. However, pain is not always useful.
Whenever nerve endings are stimulated by either damage or inflammation, pain is a signal by using neurotransmitters. This signal is sent to your brain via nerve fibers and spinal cord for interpretation and response.
As such, you may take immediate physical action (pull hand off stove) or further assessment may be necessary to determine your health’s problem. All geared toward preventing tissue damage and stopping the pain because it has served its purpose.
Besides removing your physical self from the cause of the pain, another method your body uses for stopping it is the release of natural painkillers, or endorphins. Yet, this source is not always adequate to get your pain to subside, especially if prostaglandin hormones are released by your immune system. Or if certain neurotransmitters are activated, which enhance the pain message.
Pain is not only felt at the site of stimulation, but can misguide your brain to other parts of the body supplied by nerves in the same sensory pathway. For example, angina and heart attack pain warnings may be felt in your left arm. This pain causing phenomenon is called referred pain.
Pain is generally referred to as acute or chronic type of pain. Acute pain doesn’t last long and usually subsides during the process of healing, notoriously caused by an injury or inflammation. This pain type is generated via your sympathetic nervous system, the same nerves engaged in fight-or-flight response. And rarely does this type of pain end up chronic.
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for what seems like forever, which can be made much worse by environmental (i.e. temperature, noise, body position) and psychological factors (i.e. stress, anxiety). This type of pain may be caused by an ongoing health condition, such as cancer or arthritis. Or continue well beyond a cure because your brain continues to perceive pain despite the lack of an identifiable cause.
Pain is described in a myriad of ways, like:
- felt all over
- come & go
- limited to one area
Type of pain is frequently labeled by location or health condition causing your annoying sensation, just to name a few:
- foot pain
- heel pain
- flank pain
- finger pain
- chest pain
- sore throat
- muscle pull
- skin infection
- testicular pain
- abdominal pain
- myofascial pain
- lower back pain
- neuropathic pain
- tendinitis, bursitis
- sprain, strain, tear
- rheumatoid arthritis
- respiratory infection
- peripheral neuropathy
Not much happens to your body where pain doesn’t have its say.
Fortunately, there are numerous options for treating pain. Acute pain relief can often be managed with OTC pain relievers, i.e. aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen (NSAIDs). Severe pain may require something stronger, like sedatives, opioid narcotics or morphine.
Management of chronic pain can sometimes pose a challenge for relief. Yet, various pain relief management techniques are available, for example:
- severing a nerve in pain pathway
- certain antidepressants, anticonvulsants
- transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
- nerve block ~ destroys part of a peripheral nerve
- direct application of drugs to nerves transmitting the pain signals
- microprocessor-controlled analgesic injections, implanted drug-delivery system
- relaxation techniques focuses brain elsewhere & reduces stress~ yoga,meditation
- surgery to correct or remove cause of pain ~ herniated disc, carpal tunnel syndrome
- electrical stimulation ~ electrodes implanted to stimulate peripheral, spinal cord nerves
Pain relief management techniques work differently for everyone, so you may need to try several to discovery which works best for your type of pain. And many pain treatments won’t relieve all your pain, but should reduce its severity and how often it occurs.
Finally, regular exercise is believed to increase the production of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers. So, get moving.