How to cope different variants of pain
Doctors will classify pain as Acute Pain which is caused by some form of injury to the body warning the brain of potential damage and requires action. It can develop slowly or quickly and last for just a few minutes or months and will subside as the injury heals.
Chronic Pain this is pain which will persist long after the trauma has healed, and sometimes can occur in the absence of trauma. This type of pain does not warn the body to respond and will usually last longer than six months.
Our perception of pain can sometimes be affected by what we are doing at the time. For instance a footballer who is so engrossed in his game may take many blows to his body but because his heightened state, any painful signals which would normally be sent to the brain are temporary cancelled out until the game has finished and he starts to calm down then suddenly the pain signals start their journey. For more about the process of how pain works look at Gate Control Theory by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall.
So how do we manage pain?
Many people visiting the doctor for pain relief will be prescribed drugs for the treatment of their pain and these could be in the form of Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs: some of the side effects of these drugs are, gastritis, worsening of asthma and kidney damage.
Opioids: these are effective pain killers for all types of pain including neuropathic pain. Morphine is the original drug of this class; the others include codeine, propoxyphene and fentanyl. Some of the side effects of these drugs include addiction, respiratory depression and constipation.
Steroids: these are very potent anti inflammatory drugs and they have a wide use in medicine for both anti inflammatory and pain relieving effects. Most commonly taken by mouth for the relief of arthritis. And can be administered by injection along with local anaesthetics in arthritic joints and in the spinal canal to relieve back pain. In high doses given for more than a few days they can have various effects including diabetes, osteoporosis and other damage to the bones like avascular necrosis to the femoral head. So looking at what is on offer in the drug field, the side effects can sometimes be worse than the ailment being treated and that’s just three items. What of the over counter drugs we purchase? See more