“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller
Pain is a fact of life.
Some pain is fleeting and momentary. We bump into something, sit too long in one position, or get sunburned. These conditions are temporary and superficial. Other types of pain, however, are longer-lasting and result from more serious issues such as injuries, sickness, or trauma.
These, too, usually dissipate over time with healing, recovery, or proper treatment.
But then, there is chronic pain.
Considering Common Types of Pain
Not all pain is created equal. And not all pain is experienced the same.
Medical professionals typically place common types of pain into five categories. However, it’s important to note that some conditions create pain that can fall into more than one descriptive category.
According to one article, the five most common types of pain are:
- Acute pain
- Chronic pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Nociceptive pain
- Radicular pain
These can be briefly described as follows:
Acute pain means the pain is short in duration (relatively speaking), lasting from minutes to about three months (sometimes up to six months).
Chronic pain is longer in duration. It can be constant or intermittent. Chronic pain is often due to a health condition, like arthritis, fibromyalgia, or a spine condition.
Neuropathic pain is due to damage to the nerves or other parts of the nervous system. It can be shooting, stabbing, or burning pain, or like pins and needles. It can also affect touch sensitivity.
Nociceptive pain is a type of pain caused by damage to body tissue. People often describe it as being a sharp, achy, or throbbing pain. It’s often caused by external injuries like a skinned knee.
Radicular pain is a specific type of pain that occurs when the spinal nerve is compressed or inflamed. It radiates from the back and hip into the leg(s) by way of the spine and spinal nerve root. Radicular pain may be experienced as tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness.
Considering Common Types of Pain Treatment
Depending on the type of pain and the specific cause, if determined, those who suffer from these various types of pain or the medical professionals treating them, may administer a few different pain treatment options.
Most commonly, however, pain treatment is relegated to the administration of drugs.
Medications used range from mild doses of NSAIDs to powerful narcotics such as Fentanyl.
For most people who self-treat their chronic pain, however, the use of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs – usually NSAIDs – is the most common approach. In addition, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are also the most prescribed medications for treating conditions such as arthritis.
Most of us are familiar with OTC, non-prescription NSAIDs, such as aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen.
The problem is that these common pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can only treat pain symptoms. And the effectiveness of any one of these drugs can become increasingly less over time. In addition, each of them presents the potential threat of mild to serious side effects when administered long-term.
For example, the National Institutes of Health noted that,
“Studies of older adults show that chronic NSAID use increases the risk of peptic ulcer disease, acute renal failure, and stroke/myocardial infarction.”
In addition, they noted elsewhere that,
“[D]ata from multiple placebo-controlled trials and meta-analyses studies alarmingly signify the adverse effects of NSAIDs in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, hepatic, renal, cerebral and pulmonary complications.”
While NSAIDs are generally considered to be safer alternatives to opioids or other analgesics, and have no potential for addiction, these medications can have negative consequences and, in rare cases, can become part of a substance use disorder.
Considering Alternative Treatment of Chronic Pain
Traditional diagnosis of chronic pain issues can involve x-rays or MRIs, if the condition appears to warrant them. Physicians can also make use of specialized tests to find and identify any type of condition that may be a primary cause of chronic pain.
At Pain and Performance Solutions, on the other hand, we diagnose chronic pain by getting your full medical history first, then asking a series of questions to help direct our diagnosis of your chronic pain. This is because we understand that the actual cause of your chronic pain, oftentimes, is not where you are experiencing it.
After completing our initial process, we conduct a full physical examination and, sometimes, an assessment of your body movement. This allows us to diagnose the cause of your pain if it is located in or near your knees.
Another common approach we take is to conduct a movement and structural assessment using a Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) and Anatomy in Motion, or AiM®.
The SFMA is a series of simple full-body movement tests that allow us to establish a baseline for a series of more complex tests. We use Anatomy in Motion to perform a gait assessment that gives us a virtual “roadmap” of your body’s structure.
At other times we may simply employ Active Release Technique® therapy, or ART®, if we feel that your pain is related to internal scar tissue or related issues.
By breaking up adhered and unhealthy tissues in the body we can bring relatively fast relief to many chronic pain issues. These issues develop when muscles are exposed to an unusual amount of stress. In response to that, your body attempts to reinforce the muscles by increasing tension and laying down collagen fibers.
While these collagen fibers and the inherently dysfunctional tension can help your body adapt to the specific stress it is being exposed to, these adaptations may prevent proper tissue function and movement. And they can eventually lead to pain.
Sometimes even chronic pain.
Chronic Pain Relief Without OTC Medications
To help you take the first step in recovery and relief from chronic pain, we must get to know you, your present condition, and any history of pain issues.
Only after a full examination will we then be able to determine which form of treatment is best suited to help you on your road to recovery. One of the common issues with chronic pain is that what we are feeling may not be the actual origin of our pain.
Because our bodies often compensate for pain, you may find you can eventually function for a while without noticeable pain. However, because your body has shifted that pain around to compensate for your discomfort, this can soon lead to pain in other areas.
Getting chronic pain relief with therapies such as Active Release Technique® can only begin when we can understand where your pain started. That could mean it originally started with an injury you might have sustained.
Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty.
Ultimately, getting your body working properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions or concerns that you may have.
You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.