Pain ManagementPain and Chronic Pain Overview
Pain is a very common complaint. It is secondary only to upper respiratory infections as the reason why people seek medical care. Obviously, effective treatment of pain will lessen suffering and improve the quality of one's life.
Some people believe that as people get older, they become less sensitive to pain, and therefore do not feel pain. This is absolutely false. Some people believe that chronic pain is to be expected as one gets older. This is also absolutely false. Some people believe that they should not tell people that they are in pain. This is absolutely incorrect. How can anybody seek help or treatment if they are unwilling to express their discomfort to others.
Pain can be divided into two classifications: Acute and Chronic.
Acute pain is usually secondary to an illness or injury that is or has caused tissue damage. But, the main point is that most often this pain is self limited, and will resolve in days or weeks once the medical problem is corrected or has healed. Examples of acute pain would include bruises, bone fractures, infections, heart attacks, muscle sprain/strain, arthritis (gout), etc.
Chronic pain, on the other hand , can continue on for years after the problem has resolved or the illness has healed. Chronic pain can develop following an acute pain event, but it may also start on its own and gradually increase in severity over time. Unlike acute pain which indicates there is ongoing tissue damage or repair, chronic pain does not indicate there is ongoing tissue injury or destruction. Examples include: arthritis, muscular pain, old bone fractures, shingles (injured nerves), etc.
Problems Resulting from Chronic Pain
Treatment of Chronic Pain
Before blindly treating acute or chronic pain, it is best to determine the etiology of the pain, and determine if any medical intervention is indicated towards the disease/injury, of which would hopefully result in pain relief. Again, it must be certain that the pain is not coming from vital organs such as the heart, stomach, kidney, aorta, etc. Examples of some serious problems that can present as back pain include stomach ulcers, kidney problems, aneurysms. Arm or leg pain can be secondary to ischemia (lack of blood, blocked arteries) or thrombophlebitis (blood clots).
Ben Franklin Medical Consultants offer a comprehensive program for the treatment on chronic pain. The first step to treating pain is to diagnose the pain, and its etiology. This is accomplished in a similar fashion as with all new medical problems. A detailed pain history is obtained as to the onset, location, quality (what the pain feels like), exacerbating, and relieving factors of the pain. A pertinent physical exam is performed looking for anatomical and neurological abnormalities. Sometimes, reproduction of the pain during the physical exam can be very informative. A presumptive pain diagnosis(s) can be made and various studies can be ordered if indicated. Pain treatment can be instituted at this time, before a final diagnosis is reached.