What is Pain?
Most people could tell you about times in their life when they have experienced pain, but they might have trouble defining exactly what it is. Though someone might report feeling pain in a certain part of their body, in reality all pain - no matter how it feels - is closely connected to the brain and nervous system. For instance, a simple example of acute pain would be an ankle injury, in which the muscles and connective tissue of the ankle might be torn, damaged, or inflamed. Once the tissue damage has healed for this injury, the pain will fade away: usually within a time span of a month of two for injuries like these.
Chronic or Persistent Pain
However, not all pain is acute. Rather, many people suffer from what is known as chronic or persistent pain, which is pain that may have originally been caused by an acute instance of tissue damage that has since healed, and yet the pain continues. An issue of chronic pain has less to do with an injury itself and more to do with how the brain and nervous system are functioning. In short, it is a more complicated ailment than a case of acute pain.
Medical Options for Chronic Pain
As persistent pain is a complicated issue, it should follow that it requires a more detailed and structured approach to pain management. In the initial stages, many people will rely on medications (usually in tablet form). These are an effective short-term solution to chronic pain management, provided that the dose is gradually tapered off and the patient eventually finishes their course of medication. Though some people will consider surgery if medications are not sufficient, this is not always effective at solving such a complex issue. Patients should get a second opinion on their persistent pain before undergoing any surgical procedure.
In addition to medical solutions to persistent pain, many people must also take their lifestyle into account for a pain management plan. For example, as feelings of stress and anxiety are rooted in the central nervous system, moods can have an effect on physical well being. Finding ways to relax can actually have beneficial results as far as pain management. Additionally, pain is influenced by unhealthy behaviors, such as lack of exercise or unhealthy diet. For many who are confronting persistent pain, it is important to include modest lifestyle changes that may be beneficial to the nervous system.
Taking a more holistic point of view to pain, it is important to review one's life history and determine when exactly the persistent pain began. It is possible that work, family, or personal stress contributed to the initial pain. In order to re-train the nervous system to function without pain, staying active physically is essential towards moving past persistent pain. Chronic pain can be frustrating, and it is easy for those suffering it to feel defeated. However, by setting goals for personal pain management and recognizing opportunities to move past it and feel healthier, these people should be able to improve their lives.