Dr. M.J. Bazos MD,
Pain: How to Get Relief
What is chronic pain?
There are 2 types of pain: acute
and chronic. Acute pain doesn't last long and usually goes away as your body
heals. Chronic pain lasts for a long time (at least 6 months) after your body
has healed. Sometimes, when people have chronic pain they don't know what is
causing it. Along with discomfort, chronic pain can cause low self-esteem,
depression and anger, and it can interfere with your daily activities.
How is chronic pain treated?
Treatment of chronic pain usually
involves medicines and therapy. Medicines used for chronic pain include pain
relievers, antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Different types of medicines
help people with different types of pain. Usually you use long-acting medicines
for constant pain. Short-acting medicines are used for pain that comes and goes.
Several types of therapy can help ease
your pain. Physical therapy (such as stretching and strengthening activities)
and low-impact exercise (such as walking, swimming or biking) can help reduce
the pain. Not doing physical activity or trying to do too much can hurt chronic
pain patients. Occupational therapy teaches you how to pace yourself and how to
do ordinary tasks differently so you won't hurt yourself. Behavioral therapy
can reduce your pain through methods that help you relax (such as meditation and
yoga). It can also help get rid of stress.
Lifestyle changes are also an
important part of treatment for chronic pain. Getting regular sleep at night and
not taking daytime naps should help. Stopping smoking helps too, because the
nicotine in cigarettes can make some medicines less effective. Smokers also have
more pain than nonsmokers. Most pain
treatments will not take away all of your pain. Instead, treatment should reduce
how much pain you have and how often it occurs. Talk to your doctor to learn how
to best control your pain. What
should I tell my doctor about my pain?
Telling your doctor about your
pain will help him or her find the right treatment for you. Tell your doctor
where, how bad the pain is and how often your pain occurs. Also, talk about what
makes the pain better or worse. Your
doctor may review other health problems (such as arthritis, breathing problems
and heart conditions) you may have because these may keep you from doing some
types of therapy. Your doctor may also ask if you have had any problems with
sleep, mood or anxiety.
Chronic Pain Association, Inc. : Internet address: www.theacpa.orgPain
Pain Society : www.ampainsoc.orgAmerican
Council for Headache Education: www.achenet.org