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Chronic Pain: Causes & Treatment Options

Chronic Pain: Causes & Treatment Options

Chronic pain can last for quite a long time. Chronic pain can be different than regular pain. Sometimes it may last for weeks or can stretch up to months. Some types of pain can never be cured, but can certainly be curbed with some effective treatments. When you pull a muscle or even cut your finger, your body senses something wrong, and you feel pain. After the injury heals, you feel a load of relief, and the pain subsides with time.

Chronic pain can affect your day-to-day life activities. It can also disturb your mental health. But proper consultation and treatment can bring real relief.

What Makes You Feel Chronic Pain?

The central nervous system sends out a series of messages that cause pain. When you hurt yourself, the injury or wound turns on the pain sensors in that affected area. They send the messages in the form of electric signals. These signals travel from one nerve to the other until they reach the brain. The brain then processes the signals and sends out an indication that you are hurt.

The signal usually stops once the pain gets resolved. The body starts healing the wound on your torn muscle. But in the case of chronic pain, the nerve signals keep triggering even after the pain is healed.

Which Conditions Cause Chronic Pain?

Sometimes chronic pain can occur without any cause. But for some, it can start because of the health condition or after some injury. Some causes include:

  • Back problems
  • Infections
  • Nerve injuries or damage
  • Past surgeries or injuries
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis

Symptoms of Chronic Pain:

Chronic pain can be mild or severe. Sometimes, it can continue for days or some days, and it might vanish. The likely symptoms are:

  • Burning
  • A dull ache
  • Squeezing
  • Throbbing
  • Soreness
  • Shooting
  • Stiffness
  • Stinging

While sometimes, pain can be because of one of these symptoms, like:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling exhausted
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Trouble in sleeping
  • A lack of energy

Top Treatment Options for Chronic Pain:

It is easy tofind the treatment, but sometimes recognizing the chronic pain can be tough. First, consult your doctor regarding the symptoms. With his help, you can identify the root cause of the pain with a full body check-up. You can then come up with a complete treatment plan in accordance with your health and lifestyle.

Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can also treat pain. However, in some cases, a complete diagnostic treatment can prove effective.

  1. Exercise: Resting for short periods can reduce chronic pain, but too much rest can increase it. Research proves that a regular exercise can lessen pain in the long run. It can improve muscle strength, muscle tone, and flexibility. Besides, it releases natural painkillers in the body, endorphins. Some exercises can be easily performed. Some of the best regular exercises can be walking, swimming, yoga and biking.
  2. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Machine:This therapy referred to as TENS, utilizes the electrical stimulation to decrease pain. During this treatment, a low-voltage electrical current is passed through the electrodes. These electrodes are placed on the skin near the affected area. The current stimulates the nerves and sends the signals to the brain. TENS treatment is not at all painful and can address chronic pain effectively too. Now you can buy a portable TENS machine from the local store as well as from online stores, including wireless TENS units.
  3. Prescription Medications: Sometimes OTC medications do not work for some chronic pain. In such cases, consult your doctor. He may prescribe you something stronger and effective. The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) identifies these major medications.

These include:

  • Opioids – Hydrocodone, Morphine, Oxycodone
  • Nonopioids – Acetaminophen, Aspirin

Antidepressants can be very effective in the treatment of chronic pain. They can cure anxiety and depression. They majorly affect the way the human brain analyzes and processes pain.

  1. Acupuncture: Acupuncture increases the release of endorphins, the natural painkillers in the body. This decreases the pain. Many acupressure points are near the nerves. On stimulation, these nerves can cause a dull ache in the muscles. These stimulated muscles then send a message to the body’s central nervous system. Thus, releasing endorphins.

Acupuncture can treat many pain-related conditions, like low back pain, headache, myofascial pain, menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.

  1. Trigger Point Injection:This procedure treats painful areas of the muscle. During this process, a healthcare professional injects a local anesthetic into the trigger point with a small needle. With this injection, the trigger point in the muscle is made inactive. This alleviates the pain. Usually, a brief course of this treatment can provide sustained relief.

The trigger point injection can treat muscle pain in the lower back, arms, neck, and legs. It is also very effective in treating tension, anxiety, headaches, myofascial pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

  1. Chiropractic Treatment & Massage: This is the most common treatment for acute back pain. The Osteopathic doctors are also well-trained in the bone manipulation techniques like the chiropractors. Most of the evidence proves that this treatment is not that effective for chronic neck and back pain. 
  2. Nutritional Supplements: Some dietary supplements, such SAMe and fish oils can also cure chronic pain. Although, it requires more research.
  3. Herbal Remedies:Few herbs such as devil’s claw, white willow bark, ginger, cat’s claw, and turmeric, have been effective in treating chronic pain. Prior to using these herbal remedies, you should first consult your doctor. Some herbs may harm your health or can interact with drugs and cause side-effects.
  4. Physical Therapy: For an effective treatment, physical therapy is a must. If exercise is not carried out in a perfect manner, it can worsen the pain. A physical therapist can train you with the right exercise regime. A regular and proper exercise benefits the health in a good way. You should not overdo it as excessive can be harmful.
  5. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy:This therapy makes people understand what the cause of pain is and how to cure it. This is really beneficial in understanding the role of pain and which treatment or therapy is actually worthy.

If you suffer from chronic pain, seek help immediately before it harms your health. Various studies show that almost 50% of improvements in pain come after visiting a doctor.

 

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