Pain management is a branch of medicine that uses a scientific approach to ease and reduce pain suffering, improving thus the quality of life. It's a rapidly growing medical specialty with a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management treatment of different types of pain.
Pain can be debilitating and frustrating. It can affect your sleep, work, and daily activities as well as your psyche.
Pain may appear in different areas of your body, but it's perceived and processed by your brain. Pain is your body's warning system signaling injury. The pain signal travels via your nerves up to your spinal cord, reaching your brain. Then, your brain analyzes the pain signal based upon its intensity and location, along with various other pieces of information such as your environment, previous injury experience, beliefs, emotional state, and numerous other factors. So, you feel the pain after your brain has processed all of that information.
The pain treatment can be complex, so it must be done appropriately and monitored to avoid harmful effects.
In the following article, we'll learn more about how pain affects your body, what types of pain exist, as well as how pain management treatment works.
Pain is a protective mechanism that keeps the body safe from danger and harm.
The human body has pain receptors attached to two main types of nerves that detect danger. One nerve type transmits messages quickly, causing sharp, sudden pain. The other nerve type does it slowly, causing a dull, throbbing pain.
Some areas of the body, like skin, have more pain receptors than others, so it's easier to tell the exact location and type of pain when they're harmed.
When you touch something hot or sharp, nerves automatically send signals to the spinal cord and, further, to the thalamus. The spinal cord can send a straightaway signal back to the muscles, making them contract causing a reflex reaction. So, before you sense the pain, harmed body parts will move away from the source of the danger, preventing further damage.
When the thalamus is warned, it sorts the sent information, considering your previous experience, beliefs, expectations, culture, and social norms that can impact your response to pain.
Finally, the thalamus sends the information to other brain parts linked to the physical response, perception, and emotion. This connection explains why when you feel the sensation of pain, you might feel annoyed as well.
Additionally, one should consider that a person's emotional state can impact the experience of pain. So, finding the cause of pain and effective ways to deal with it will lead to faster healing and improvement of your life. On the other hand, pain can affect the person's emotional state, as well. For example, many people with chronic nerve pain can become anxious or depressed.
Now when we know how pain functions, let's see what types of pain there are.
Injury, medical conditions (such as cancer, arthritis, and back problems), and surgery are the most common causes of pain.
There are two primary pain types - acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute pain is a normal response to an injury, surgery, or toothache. Short-term pain usually protects you and prevents more damage by warning you something's going on with your body. When the harmed part of your body heals or the pain stimulus is removed, the pain goes away.
Chronic pain lasts longer than acute pain, beyond the expected healing time, usually more than three months. Chronic pain is sometimes caused by a problem with how the nerves send pain signals to the brain. With this type of pain, you are rarely entirely without pain, but it varies – on some days, you will feel less pain, and on others, you'll feel more. You might feel like the harm is occurring, even if that's not the case.
Types of pain can also be divided by the nature of the injury.
The first is pain caused by direct tissues, muscles, or ligament injuries. These include arthritis (pain in large and small joints - knees or hips, fingers or wrists) and sports injuries like sprains or strains.
The second type of pain is nerve pain, caused by nerve injury or a nervous system disease. Those include a stroke, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, or spinal cord injury. Nerve pain is usually described as sharp, shooting, burning, or stabbing pain, often worse at night. It can heavily affect sleep, work, and physical activity. People experiencing it are very sensitive to cold and even the slightest touch.
Lastly, the third type of pain is a combination of the previous two - tissue and nerve injury, such as back pain, neck pain, or cancer.
Pain management treatment starts with your first visit to the pain clinic. To define the pain problem, a physician will need you to describe the pain in detail. He would probably ask you some of these questions:
Some of the relevant questions are: Where do you feel the pain? Then they will ask how intense the pain is. How does it feel (dull, aching, tingling)? When did it start? How often do you feel the pain, and when particularly (during exercise or resting)? Did you take any medication, and did it help? Is the pain worse when standing, sitting, or laying down?
Then, the physician will come up with the best pain management treatment for you. Let's see the possibilities of treatments.
Pain management treatment may include various healing methods such as pain-relief medications, physical therapies, heat or cold packs, massage, exercise, acupuncture, psychological therapies (cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, and meditation), and occupational or cold wave therapy.
When the pain hits you, you want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Therefore, you may want to reach out for pain-relief medications. However, they don't permanently relieve your pain and discomfort, and they can even cause you side effects.
Heat – if you have a problem with tight muscles, you can relax them with warm showers, hot packs, or a heating pad. Important notice: the heat should not be used on an inflamed joint.
Cold – to decrease inflammation of joints, use gel packs, a bag of ice cubes, or a pack of frozen vegetables or fruit, but don't put any of this directly on your skin. Before you put cold compresses on the affected area, place a layer of clothing or a towel on it.
Massage therapy can be beneficial for relaxing muscles or in the case of soft tissue injuries. In addition, it improves blood flow which can aid with healing.
Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine, practiced by stimulating specific points on the body by inserting thin needles through the skin. Acupuncture helps with restoring balance inducing the body to heal by releasing endorphins, natural pain-relieving compounds. If you're interested in this type of treatment, make sure that you visit a trained professional who uses sterile needles.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy - A TENS device stimulates muscle and nerve tissues through the small electrodes placed on the body. It helps to increase blood flow and reduce pain.
Naturally, pain can make you avoid physical activity because specific movements can make it worse, or you fear re-injury. However, there are many benefits from regular physical activity, especially when living with chronic pain. Exercise can increase your strength, energy, and flexibility, improving your mood, and help to manage your pain.
Before you begin:
Surgery can sometimes seem like the only option to lessen the pain and restore joint function, which is daunting, and it could be risky. It's a decision that you will make together with your physician.
Spinal manipulation or chiropractic is a technique that generates a specific force to a joint to restore joint mobility using hands or a device.
Joint protection includes wearing support and bands or to help with movements and to decrease the pain, slowing the progression of joint damage and deformity, and making everyday tasks easier.
If you're looking for a long-term solution and want to avoid needles, drugs, or surgery, then wave therapy will suit you the best. The most common are acoustic pressure wave therapy and shockwave therapy.
Shockwave therapy (also called extracorporeal shockwave therapy) treats tendon pain and other body conditions by producing low-energy acoustic waves throughout the affected areas in the body. The audible sound waves increase the blood flow into the treated area, accelerating the body's natural healing processes. Waves produced by shockwave therapy can also dissipate disorganized tissues and calcifications and reduce fibrosis.
Acoustic pressure wave therapy is a mechanical stimulation of tissues that stimulates natural healing processes in the body. It is an effective method for healing numerous ailments, returning the treated tissue to its optimal and homeostatic state. It works by boosting the blood flow in the veins and arteries, revitalizing the existing tissues.
During the treatment, waves stimulate tiny fibers, leading to activation of the serotonergic system (the system that affects serotonin production and transmits pain stimulations), which increases the patient's pain resistance above their initial pain level.
Whichever wave therapy you choose, it will make you feel better and stronger, helping you overcome any pain.
Lately, one of the breakthrough pain management treatments is Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology, which we will discuss in more detail below.
Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT®) is a form of extracorporeal shock wave therapy. It's the most advanced, completely safe, and highly effective non-invasive treatment method for pain without risks, complications, or long recovery periods.
It has been proved that EPAT's success rate is equal to or greater than the success rate of traditional treatment methods, including surgery.
This technology is based on a unique set of pressure waves that stimulate metabolism, enhance blood circulation, and accelerate healing. As a result, damaged tissue gradually regenerates and eventually heals.
EPAT represents a breakthrough treatment option for a broad range of musculoskeletal conditions and includes the following areas: neck, shoulders, back, upper arm, elbows, forearm, wrist and hand, pelvis and hips, thigh and knee, foot and ankle. It's also proven that EPAT is helpful in erectile dysfunction treatment.
The beneficial effects are often experienced after only three treatments. Some patients report immediate pain relief after the treatment, although it can take up to 4 weeks for pain relief to start. The procedure eliminates pain and restores full mobility, thus improving your quality of life. Over 80% of treated patients reported they are pain-free or have significant pain reduction.
Cleared by FDA, this technology was developed in Europe and is currently used around the globe. A wealth of medical experience, state-of-the-art engineering, and optimal quality have been integrated into each EPAT® device. The extensive clinical studies and tests have confirmed its safety and efficacy. Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT®) has virtually no risks or side effects if performed by a qualified caregiver.
The treatment performed in your physician's office or clinic doesn't require anesthesia and takes a minimal amount of time. Patients can immediately bear weight and return to regular activity within a few days of the procedure.
Treatment is performed by applying coupling gel to the specified treatment area to enhance effectiveness. Then, non-invasive low frequency (8-12 Hz) acoustic sound waves are released into the painful area using an applicator. The applicator is moved over in a circular motion while the sound waves penetrate deep through your soft tissue, reaching the most distant regions.
Every process for a patient suffering from an injury or disease is unique. Our leading EPAT® treatment provides significant pain relief after only three treatments.
Let us help you. For more information, clients' experiences, reviews, and getting in touch, contact us and start the fantastic recovery journey.