Pain is a massive problem in our society, in fact it is estimated that at any given time, around one third of the population are in pain. Pain of any type is the most frequent reason for physician consultation. It is a major symptom in many medical conditions, significantly interfering with quality of life and general functioning.
Management is therefore an extremely important part of health care because people forced to continue living with extreme pain often become depressed and have poor treatment outcomes.
Some types of pain are still not really understood with as many as a third of cases having unknown origins.
Here are some of the things we do know about pain:
* It is constant for about 20% of people.
* Back pain is the most common pain.
* Most chronic sufferers have had pain for at least 3 years.
* As can be expected, the incidence increases with advancing age.
* Women report suffering more often than men.
* Only 70% of sufferers look for professional help.
Modern management programs should be multidisciplinary combining the input of Medical practitioners, Acupuncturists, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Clinical psychologists and Occupational therapists, amongst others.
1. Narcotics are often prescribed for severe pain, but narcotics carry with them a potential for side effects and addiction, so patients and caregivers must weigh the level of pain against these dangers in the management process.
2. Numerous studies have found that certain complementary therapies are effective in management.
3. Massage therapy can hasten pain relief, soothe stiff sore muscles, and reduce inflammation and swelling.
4. Psychological pain management teaches people skills to cope with their condition. Research has shown that having realistic, helpful thoughts is an important part of management.
5. Natural pain relief is a sought after alternative to medication and drugs based on chemicals and other synthetic medication. Herbs have been used for centuries for pain relief, but many have not undergone extensive study. Some allergic reactions might occur with some patients using natural relief, but these can be easily controlled or prevented by doing a skin test before using the natural pain relief.
6. One of the pain management modalities are trigger point injections and nerve blocks utilizing long acting anesthetics and small doses of steroids.
7. NSAID medication will not only relieve pain, but also reduce fever and inflammation. However there are real disadvantages associated with the long term use of these drugs.
8. Aspirins, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen are other common remedies used for the relief of acute pain.
9. Morphine is the major active substance in opium and a very potent pain relief medication. Morphine will act directly on the central nervous system and is commonly used as a medication for acute and severe pain caused by surgery or major trauma. Morphine is also used as a pain relief medication for moderate and severe chronic pain, such as caused by cancer.
10. TENS machines give short term pain relief to many people. These machines are fairly cumbersome but at least they do not have side effects.
11. Finally there is a new modality which has just been released on to the market and that is the powerstrip pain patch which combines far infra red heat technology activated by body heat with quantum energy, red ginseng and marine phytoplanktons.