Pain is generally referred to as “acute” from the onset. Its transition into “chronic pain” however, depends on how long the pain persists. Acute pain in most cases can be self treated or eliminated by doing simple things like: repositioning the body part where the pain exists, cooling the body part or simply resting. In most cases, chronic pain involves a visit to the doctor. Chronic pain is typically defined as pain that lasts for more than six months. It can be experienced in the body, the spinal cord or even the brain; furthermore, it can originate as a result of medical conditions or accidents.
Levels of Chronic Pain
There is a “pain ladder” according to the World Health Organization that distinguishes cancer related pain. This “pain ladder” can also be applied to chronic pain in general.
This depicts forms of pain that are not in any way severe and can be successfully self treated. Mild pain doesn’t require therapy, additionally; it can be treated by using nonprescription medication like aspirin. Mild can also be treated by using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Worse than mild pain but not as bad as severe pain, moderate pain can actually interfere with physical performance. It is very possible that a victim might be unable to overlook moderate pain, and in this manner, the pain- although moderate- begins to interfere with the victim’s everyday activities. In treating moderate pain, there is need for stronger medications than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Moderate pain, however, doesn’t reoccur after it has been treated.
When pain begins to interfere with most or all of a victim’s daily activity, it is categorized as severe pain. Severe pain in most cases leaves victims confined to beds and chairs, not able to carry out physical activities. Continuous treatment is requires for this form of chronic pain and it is usually treated or managed by using strong opioids.
Chronic Pain Treatment
The very first and most important step in starting any treatment is to recognizing the fact that you have chronic pain. The next thing to do is to consult a doctor, who will take you through the process of identifying the source of the pain, the level of pain and the n the suitable treatment.
The most common treatments for chronic pain include: Medication and alternative therapy. One of the most important things to know is that in some cases, chronic pain can only be managed and not treated.
In cases that are not too severe, over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen can be very effective. In cases of severe chronic pain, over-the-counter medication might not be adequate. Depending on your doctor, opioids, nonopioids, or adjuvant analgesics might be prescribed.
Research has revealed that alternative therapy can reduce the need for medication in the treatment of chronic pain.
Alternative therapies that can be used in chronic pain treatment include:
- Physical therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Cognitive therapy
Other methods used for treating chronic pain include
- Relaxation Techniques
- Biofeedback and more