Pain is relative and subjective to each person’s unique experience, this makes it quite difficult to provide a universal definition for pain.
Nonetheless, people feel pain when a signal travels through nerve fibers to the brain for interpretation.
Pain can also be short- or long-term and stay in one place or spread around the body.
In this article, we look at the different causes and types of pain, different ways to diagnose it, and how to manage it
Like I earlier stated, pain is difficult to define but The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Pain is not just a physical sensation. It is influenced by attitudes, beliefs, personality and social factors, and can affect emotional and mental wellbeing.
The causes of pain are?
Medical evidence shows pain is felt by individuals when specific nerves referred to as nociceptors detect tissue damage, therefore transmitting information about the damage along the spinal cord to the brain (the brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system).
The brain’s interpretation of the signals received from the nerves and the efficiency of the communication channel between the nociceptors and the brain dictate how an individual experiences pain.
What some researchers discovered in a research conducted In 2011 is the United States loses an estimated $560 billion to $635 billion each year in treatment costs, lost wages, and missed days of work as a result of pain.
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Types of pain?
There are two main categories of pain. Acute and chronic pain.
Acute pain is one that lasts for a short time but always intense. Sometimes it occurs following surgery or a traumatic experience.
It acts as a warning to the body to seek help. Although it usually improves as the body heals, in some cases, it may not. Examples of this pain includes:
- Somatic pain: This pain is felt on the skin or the soft tissues just below the skin.
- Visceral pain: It begins in the internal organs and the linings of cavities in the body.
- Referred pain: Referred pain is felt at a location different from the source of tissue damage.
Chronic pain lasts far longer than acute pain, it may exist as a symptom of other diseases or infections and it can also be a disease in its own right. Chronic pain can be mild or severe. It can also be either continuous in the form of arthritis, or occurs once in a while as can be observed with migraines.
How is pain diagnosed?
It is recommended that you schedule an appointment with your physician for diagnostics testing so he can prescribe the right treatment for your case.
The doctor will ask a number of questions spanning from where you feel the pain, the times at which pain occurs throughout the day, its effect on your mood
To your own understanding of the pain.