Acute and Chronic Pain Management

Information and Treatment for Acute and Chronic Pain

The word suffering is sometimes used in the narrow sense of physical pain, but more often it refers to mental or emotional pain, or more often yet to pain in the broad sense, i.e. to any unpleasant feeling, emotion or sensation. The word pain usually refers to physical pain, but it is also a common synonym of suffering.

The words pain and suffering are often used both together in different ways. Or they may be used in ‘contradistinction’ to one another, as in “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”, or “pain is physical, suffering is mental”. Or they may be used to define each other, as in “pain is physical suffering”, or “suffering is severe physical or mental pain”.

So What is Pain?

Pain, in the sense of physical pain, is a typical sensory experience defined as the unpleasant awareness of a noxious stimulus or bodily harm. Individuals experience pain by various daily hurts and aches, and occasionally through more serious injuries or illnesses.

Pain is highly subjective to the individual experiencing it and is a major symptom in many medical conditions, significantly interfering with a person’s quality of life and general functioning.

Typical descriptions of pain quality include sharp, stabbing, tearing, squeezing, cramping, burning, lancinating (electric-shock like), or heaviness. It may be experienced as throbbing, dull, nauseating, shooting or a combination of these.

Pain may range in intensity from slight through severe to agonizing and can appear as constant or intermittent.

Diagnosis is based on characterizing pain in various ways, according to duration, intensity, type (dull, burning or stabbing), source, or location in body. Usually pain stops without treatment or responds to simple measures such as resting or taking an analgesic, and it is then called ‘acute’ pain. But it may also become intractable and develop into a condition called chronic pain, in which pain is no longer considered a symptom but an illness by itself.

To establish an understanding of an individual’s pain, health-care practitioners will typically try to establish certain characteristics of the pain: site, onset and offset, character, radiation, associated symptoms, time pattern, exacerbating and ameliorating factors and severity.

Medical management of pain has given rise to a distinction between acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is ‘normal’ pain, it is felt when hurting a toe, breaking a bone, having a toothache, or walking after an extensive surgical operation. Chronic pain is a ‘pain illness’, it is felt day after day, month after month, and seems impossible to heal.

Types of Pain:

Psychogenic pain, also called psychalgia or somatoform pain, is physical pain that is caused, increased, or prolonged by mental, emotional, or behavioral factors. Headache, back pain, or stomach pain are some of the most common types of psychogenic pain.

Phantom pain is the sensation of pain from a limb or organ that has been lost or from which a person no longer receives physical signals. Phantom limb pain is an experience almost universally reported by amputees and quadriplegics. Phantom pain is a neuropathic pain.

Acute pain: Pain that comes on quickly, can be severe, but lasts a relatively short time. As opposed to chronic pain. Acute pain serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body.

Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists longer than the temporal course of natural healing, associated with a particular type of injury or disease process. Chronic pain impairs the ability to direct attention, in particular when compared to peers with low intensity or no chronic pain, people with high-intensity chronic pain have significantly reduced ability to perform attention-demanding tasks.

Publications
Interdisciplinary Care Best for Chronic Pain However Insurance Coverage Falls Short – American Academy of Pain Medicine (Mar 10, 2014)
Insomnia: Sleeping Disorders and Chronic Pain Conditions – Thomas C. Weiss (Feb 24, 2014)
Everybody Feels Pain Differently – Brain Structure Shows Who is Most Sensitive to Pain – Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (Jan 19, 2014)
Chinese Corydalis Herb Relieves Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain – University of California – Irvine (Jan 03, 2014)
Why Does Morphine Increase Pain in Some People – Université Laval (Jan 07, 2013)
Scientists Map Sensory Nerves – Johns Hopkins Medicine (Dec 30, 2012)
The Pain Whisperer Cures Untreatable Painful Conditions – The Pain Whisperer (Nov 28, 2012)
Love, Disability, and Chronic Pain – Wendy Taormina-Weiss (Oct 12, 2012)
Chronic Pain – A New Understanding – Scripps Research Institute (Jan 31, 2012)
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Overview – Molly Maxim (Jan 09, 2012)
Myofascial Pain syndrome (MPS) or Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) – Disabled World (May 23, 2011)
How to Survive Grief – Sandra Champlain (May 20, 2011)
Easing Physical and Psychological Burden of Chronic Pain – Goalistics, LLC (May 19, 2011)
Itchiness and Pain Connected – University of California – Berkeley (May 02, 2011)
Simply Looking at Your Body May Reduce Pain – University College London (Feb 10, 2011)
It’s a Pain to Take Care of Pain – Indiana University School of Medicine (Dec 17, 2010)
Lower Back and Foot Pain Associated with Knee Osteoarthritis – Wiley-Blackwell (Nov 18, 2010)
Anger Amplifies Clinical Pain in Women with and without Fibromyalgia – Wiley-Blackwell (Sep 23, 2010)
Inflammation Causes Some Postsurgical Neuropathies – Mayo Clinic (Sep 23, 2010)
No Pain in Hospital – Wishful Thinking or Reality – Deutsches Aerzteblatt International (Sep 21, 2010)
Painkilling System in the Brain – Scripps Research (Aug 25, 2010)
Biomedical Diagnosis of Pain – University of Cincinnati (Aug 17, 2010)
Chronic Pain Gene Culprits Found – Mayo Clinic (May 07, 2010)
Blocking Pain at its Source – University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Apr 27, 2010)
Pain Free Treatment of Children and Adolescents – Deutsches Aerzteblatt International (Apr 26, 2010)
Can Words Hurt? – Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat Jena (Mar 30, 2010)
Non-drug Techniques Reduce Pain in Patients – Allina Hospitals & Clinics (Mar 05, 2010)
Hypnosis as Treatment for Pain Relief – Alan B. Densky, CH (Feb 19, 2010)
New, Targeted Pain Medicine Delivery Systems – American Academy of Pain Medicine (Feb 04, 2010)
Device for Pain Therapy not Recommended for Chronic Lower Back Pain – American Academy of Neurology (Dec 30, 2009)
Chronic Pain in Older Adults – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Nov 24, 2009)
Ineffective Pain Care Costing Over $100 Billion Annually – American Academy of Pain Medicine (Oct 27, 2009)
Less Chronic Pain when Taking Combined Drugs – Queens University (Sep 30, 2009)
Relieving Pain Meeting in Australia – Research Australia (Sep 17, 2009)
Pain Increases Signs of Aging by 2 to 3 Decades in Middle Aged Adults – Wiley-Blackwell (Sep 16, 2009)
Kidney Pain in Lower Back – Ryan C. Nagy, M.A. (Jun 25, 2009)
Pain Treatment for Cancer Patients? – University Hospital Heidelberg (Jun 25, 2009)
Pain Effects the Economy and Workplace – painexplained.ca (May 29, 2009)
Anxiety Increases Pain Intensity and Disability – Medical News (Apr 21, 2009)
Pain in the ICU Report Suggests Comprehensive Approach – American College of Chest Physicians (Apr 07, 2009)
Bedside Test Improves Diagnosis of Chronic Back Pain – Massachusetts General Hospital (Apr 07, 2009)
Chronic Pain Sufferers May Need to Assess Vitamin D Status – Mayo Clinic (Mar 20, 2009)
I Feel Your Pain: Neural Mechanisms of Empathy – Cell Press (Jan 28, 2009)
Pain Treatment Reports Often Cannot be Trusted – Medical News (Jan 14, 2009)
Painful Joints: Arthralgia – Annette Badowski (Jan 13, 2009)
Pain Manipulation Under Anesthesia – Dr. Anthony Abbruzzese (Dec 19, 2008)

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