When an individual suffers from an illness or injury that causes pain for a short duration, they are generally pretty uncomfortable. This short duration pain is known as acute pain, usually meaning that it has a known cause that will quickly pass and the pain will go away. For those people who suffer with pain for a long period of time, uncomfortable may hardly describe what they are feeling. This long term pain is known as chronic pain, and it often has no end. That is why it is important to understand what pain management options are available for chronic pain.
There is often little understanding about chronic pain in our society today. This is understandable, since even the doctor may not be able to determine the cause of the pain, and will only be able to treat the symptoms. Fortunately, there are many options for treatment.
Generally, the first thing tried is some form of over-the-counter drug. There are a variety of pills that work as pain relievers, some of which have anti-inflammatory properties as well. If your pain is muscular in nature, there are a number of creams, gels, and liquids that are made to rub into the affected area. In most cases the individual will have tried one or more of these treatments, often without much success, before seeing their doctor.
If you indeed suffer from chronic pain, you will discover that the first trip to the doctor may be just the beginning of your journey of treatment. It is not always possible to determine the cause of your pain, which makes finding a treatment that brings relief a bit of a challenge. The doctor will often begin by giving the patient a prescription drug to treat the pain symptoms. There are many drugs used in pain treatment, and it might take trying several of them until one is found that provides relief.
There is some good news relative to drug therapy for chronic pain. Doctors have accepted that narcotic drugs can be effective when used properly. They have also discovered that pairing a narcotic pain drug with another type of medication can be more effective than when either is used alone. Some of the other types of drugs used include anticonvulsants and antidepressants.
Exercise can be an important part of treatment for chronic pain. Your doctor might suggest walking, swimming, or any activity that gets your body moving. While exercise is important for anyone, it can be especially beneficial to someone suffering with chronic pain. Beyond normal exercise, your doctor may also send you to a physical therapist for a short duration of treatment. Physical therapy treatments can include a number of activities, including stretching and strengthening exercises, massage therapy and hot or cold packs applied to the body. It is often recommended that the patient continue the learned activities at home once the series of sessions with the physical therapist is over.
Many doctors believe that just treating the body is not enough when dealing with chronic pain. They know that constant pain causes stress to not only your body, but to your mind as well. For this reason, they will also recommend that you see a mental health counselor to learn some coping skills. The counselor may teach you how to effectively use biofeedback, relaxation techniques or guided imagery to help manage your stress as well as your pain.
The key to finding a pain management technique that works for you is to be engaged and involved in your treatment. That may mean that you have to be as stubborn as your pain. If you are willing to learn what treatments are available, and then work with your doctor to try them, you are likely to have some success in finding relief from your pain.
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