What is Pain?
Pain is an uncomfortable or uneasy sensation that is usually a sign of an illness or injury. It is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Pain can be perceived differently by different people; someone may have a broken bone and not even realize it, while another may feel significant pain from the same injury. This is because nerve fibers in the body mediate pain, sending signals to the brain quickly. Once they reach the brain, it works to make you aware of the pain.
Types of Pain
What are the different types of pain?
There are five common types of pain: acute, chronic, nociceptive, neuropathic, and radicular. Acute pain is short-lasting, usually from minutes to three months (sometimes up to six months). It is usually linked to a temporary illness or soft-tissue injury, and subsides after the disease or injury heals. Chronic pain is longer in duration and can be intermittent or constant. Nociceptive pain is caused by damage to body tissue and is described as throbbing, achy, or sharp. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nerves or other parts of the nervous system and is described as burning, stabbing, or shooting pain. Radicular pain radiates from the hip and back into the leg through the spinal nerve root and spine.
Treatments for Pain
Many spices and herbs can treat inflammation and other related conditions. These plant-based pain treatment options fall under alternative medicine, which also includes yoga, reiki, acupuncture, and other practices. Turmeric contains the compound curcumin, an antioxidant that helps protect our body from free radical molecules that may damage tissue and cells. Cloves contain eugenol, an active ingredient used in some over-the-counter pain rubs. Acupuncture relieves pain by balancing the body’s natural energy pathways and causing your body to release serotonin, a “feel-good” chemical that relieves pain. Applying ice and heat directly to the pain sites can also bring relief. Essential oils like lavender essential oil, rosemary essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint essential oil, and many others can also be used for treating pain.
Medications for Pain Relief
Pain relievers are medications that relieve or reduce sore muscles, headaches, arthritis, or other pains or aches. There are several pain drugs, each having different advantages and risks. Some kinds of pain respond better to certain medications than others. Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are suitable for many types of pain. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). The most effective pain relievers are opioids.
Connection between Pain and Anxiety/Panic Disorder
Anxiety, panic disorders, and chronic pain often co-exist and exacerbate each other. Anxiety has been increased among patients with back pain, fibromyalgia, and neck pain. People who suffer from anxiety disorders also report an increased prevalence of chronic pain than those without anxiety. The prevalence of chronic pain among those with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) has been reported to be approximately 35% among all patients seeking PTSD treatment and as high as 55% to 85% among volunteer firefighters and military veterans with PTSD.