Pain is defined as an unpleasant emotional experience due to what appears to be an injury or disease affecting body tissues and transmitted along nerve fibers to the brain where it is interpreted as such.
Pain could be acute in onset but if it last for three or more months it is call chronic. Chronic pain is the commonest kind of pain found in any given population. Pain has no geographic, age, sex, culture, or religion boundaries. In other words, anyone could be affected with pain. It is estimated that in the United State more than 50,000,000 people are victim of pain, mostly chronic pain.
The most common forms of chronic pain are low back pain, neck pain and headaches. What causes pain you may ask? Though pain can reveals itself without an apparent cause chemical substance are at fault initiating the pain cascade. The human body has the capacity to block pain, using its own chemical substances known as Endorphines.
Pain varies in intensity. Accordingly, it could be low or mild, intense or high. One scale measures pain intensity from 0 to 10.
Because nerve fibers transmit pain and nerve fibers are all over the body, including bones, all body tissues are subject to pain. The final end station for pain is the Brain. The master organ! Once pain signals reach the Brain it will process the information telling us several characteristic of the pain including the location, intensity, emotional component associated with, such as feeling sadness, lack of sleep, and other characteristic associated with pain like burning, prickling, numbness, etc.
Because they are different kind of pain, including cancer pain, they are also different approach to pain management. We must not forget the emotional component associated with pain that also needs to be address.
Before initiating pain treatment the physician needs to know the pain history, laboratory test result, review of any previously performed CT Scan, or MRI of the region involved in pain, and finally to perform a physical and neurologic examination.
There is a long list of medications, therapies, and procedures that the physician may chooser from for the management of pain. If a pain is to be consulted, you should bring above mentioned tests, including the images. Be prepare to ask all pertinent questions regarding treatment options, medication side effects, physical dependence, misuse, tolerance, addiction, and possible outcome.
Dr. Angel Carrasco is a neurologist and pain specialist in Florida City, Florida.