When we are fit and healthy, the world can seem a reasonably pleasant place to live. But if anything goes wrong and we are injured or laid low by a disease, the arrival of pain can turn our world into a distinctly unpleasant place. It’s an irony that the sensation supposed to warn us of the need to take action to prevent further injury or seek treatment becomes a problem in its right.
Causes of pain.
When grabbing or holding of a damaged bit of our body, we immediately know we have to do something about it. So pain is a message. The nerves in the affected part of the body react to the injury and send an electrical/chemical warning up to the brain. This is effectively an instantaneous process, alerting the conscious mind. For humans, we take this as a warning to get treatment. There’s just one problem. Even when we have reported to the nearest emergency room and paid for a doctor to treat us, the pain continues. This is inconvenient. There should be a switch to turn it off. But the pain can persist for weeks, months or, even, years depending on the nature of the injury we pick up.
As an example, let’s take someone who is injured in a traffic accident. A skillful surgeon can sew the wounded flesh back together and put the bones into splints so they can heal. But if there’s damage to the nervous system, no repairs are possible and, unlike soft tissue, nerves do not join up again. This can leave the physical body more or less back in one piece, but the pain will not go away. When the treatment of the physical cause has exhausted all options, this just leaves pain management.
How to Manage Pain
To help you understand the best way to manage pain, we start with a few definitions. If the injury, disease or disorder is only going to affect you for a short time, the pain is called acute. As you respond to the treatment for the underlying physical cause, the pain will slowly fade. This is critical psychologically. Once you have confirmed the injury will heal, and you will make a complete recovery, you remain optimistic and positive. If a doctor tells you physical therapy will speed up rehabilitation; you will work through the pain to get the results. This is not the case when the pain is chronic. Chronus is the Greek word for time. It is not a reference to the severity of the pain, but to the fact, you will feel it for months or years. This is demoralizing. Many people are tempted to give up when they recognize there’s not going to be a quick “cure.” So a major part of the treatment for chronic pain is counseling and support to encourage people to stay more positive and work toward getting the best possible quality of life.