Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensation associated with actual or potential tissue damage. It can occur in any part of the body and alerts you of the presence of a damaging situation; hence, motivating you to withdraw from the situation to protect the affected part of the body and allow it to heal. Besides, it trains you to avoid similar experiences in the future. For example, if you touch a hot surface, the nerves close to the affected tissue send a signal to the brain, which in turn triggers a reflex action that causes you to withdraw your hand. So, pain in this situation acts as an alarm to withdraw from a source of harm. However, not all pain is good pain.
There are two types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain is provoked by a specific disease or injury, and it is self-limiting, usually alleviated by removing the cause of the sensation or by treatment.
Causes of acute pain include:
- Broken bones from a fall or a major accident.
- Cuts or bruises.
- Dental work.
Chronic pain is a persistent and long-lasting form of pain that continues for weeks, months, or even years, and may be considered an illness in itself. It continues even after the cause of the injury has been removed and outlasts the normal time of healing. It is one of the most common conditions seen in healthcare facilities, and by its nature, it may be frustrating to both patients and healthcare providers alike. In addition, it may co-exist with conditions such as depression, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.
It is different from acute pain, which is a temporary sensation that alerts us to potential injury or damage. Chronic pain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as an initial injury or illness, nerve damage, inflammation, or an underlying medical condition.
The experience of chronic pain can vary greatly among individuals. It may be constant or intermittent, localized to a specific area or widespread throughout the body. The intensity of chronic pain can range from mild to severe, and it can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life, affecting their physical and emotional well-being.
Conditions commonly associated with chronic pain include fibromyalgia, arthritis, back pain, neuropathy, migraines, and certain autoimmune disorders. Chronic pain can also result from injuries, such as those caused by accidents or surgeries. In some cases, the exact cause of chronic pain may be unknown or difficult to determine.
Managing chronic pain often requires a multidisciplinary approach, involving healthcare professionals such as doctors, pain specialists, physical therapists, and psychologists. Treatment options may include medications, physical therapy, nerve blocks, alternative therapies (such as acupuncture or chiropractic care), and psychological interventions like cognitive-behavioural therapy. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain levels, improve physical functioning, and enhance overall quality of life. It’s important for individuals with chronic pain to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs.
It is estimated that at least 18.9% (approximately 1 in 5) of adults aged 18 and older in Canada and more than 1.5 billion people worldwide live with chronic pain.
Chronic pain can reduce your quality of life and productivity, whether steady or intermittent; throbbing, stabbing, aching, pinching, and mild or severe.
The causes of most chronic pain can be identified, but in a few cases, the underlying causes are unknown.
The most common causes of chronic pain include:
- Arthritis, especially osteoarthritis
- Diabetic complications.
- Complications from a previous stroke.
For more details on how to relieve or treat chronic pain, you can reach out to one of our pain specialists at any of our pain care clinic locations. We establish a caring relationship and provide patients with pain relief when needed the most. Contact us today at 289-724-6109 to educate yourself more and start an exercise regime appropriate and beneficial for relieving your chronic pain condition.