Pain Relief: The Best Treatment For Your Pain

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It’s hard to know what the best medication to suit your pain is when there are many different types of pain, such as pain when you cut yourself, or muscle pain from the flu or minor injuries. Read on for types of pain, what causes pain, prevention and treatment, and tips for preventing pain.

 

WHAT IS PAIN?

Pain can be sharp or acute from an injury, and goes away when you are healed. But it can persist and become chronic from a long-term illness or injury which can be very debilitating.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 3 months. It is also called persistent pain or long-term pain. It is often described as pain that does not go away as expected after an injury or illness.

Although treatment of pain can be difficult, effective relief is always possible using different techniques and drug combinations.

 

WHAT CAUSES THE SENSATION OF PAIN?

You can feel pain by one of two ways.

Triggered nerve endings by a cut, tear, break or pressure. Chemicals such as external poisons, toxins. Extreme heat or cold.

Messages are sent from these nerve endings up nerves into the spinal cord and to the brain, where they are interpreted as pain.

Muscular or skeletal pain is usually sharp and easy to pinpoint where as Internal pain in the gut or organs is usually a dull pain and may not be easy to identify.

The malfunction of a nerve. This is when a nerve is damaged or inflamed and it becomes unstable and fires off random signals which are felt as sharp pain like an electric shock or as a burning pain. It is caused by pressure, such as a trapped nerve or slipped disc, compression by a blood vessel or tumour, or inflammation due to an infection such as shingles, or after surgery.

 

PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

It is important to know the type of pain you’re experiencing and why before treating it. This helps you or your healthcare professional to know what the right medication for treatment is.

Pain relievers are in different categories due to how they work to treat the pain, common pain relievers include:

  • Paracetamol  – acts on pain-receiving pathways in the brain and is good for mild pain or in combination with other drugs for more severe pain.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) – reduce inflammatory pain (muscular or arthritic) by blocking the enzymes that form pain-inducing chemicals in the tissues, causing them to swell. NSAIDs reduce swelling and pain. Simple NSAIDs include diclofenac (Voltaren), ibuprofen and aspirin which can be brought over-the-counter from your pharmacy.
  • Narcotics or opiates – alter the way the brain interprets pain and induce sedation. They include codeine or morphine. These drugs are used for severe pain either by themself or alongside other drugs.
  • Pain modifiers – these are drugs such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants (used in the treatment of epileptic seizures) but are used alongside painkillers to treat chronic pain. They work by reducing pain signals getting to the brain, and maintaining damaged nerve endings that keep firing pain signals.
  • Muscle relaxants – reduce muscle spasm.

 

Tips for preventing pain

  • Give up smoking as this can affect the medication you take.
  • Keep active and don’t let your pain prevent you using your injured limbs or back as this can cause stiffness and your muscles to waste away.
  • Exercise as much as possible as this stimulates blood flow and oxygen to muscles, helping to reduce stress which can help alleviate pain.
  • Use an ice pack or hot water bottle particularly with lower back pain.
  • Respond to the first sign of pain and take medication regularly when pain is present to prevent it getting out of hand.
  • Eating right will not only help you to maintain a healthy weight but will also not put unnecessary stress on your body
  • Stretch and warm up before exercise so you prepare your body for the workout.

 


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