Pain is an unpleasant feeling. Nobody wants to experience it; some even dread just thinking about it. However, pain is not bad for you. Experiencing physical pain serves a purpose – protection. Pain acts as a signal to the brain that something is wrong with your body and that you need to take action and address the problem immediately.
On the other hand, there is a kind of pain that doesn’t go away. It is called chronic pain, and it persists for weeks or even months. Chronic pain is usually associated with a specific medical condition, and it affects a person’s daily life. People with chronic pain should see a doctor and ask about suitable pain management options that can alleviate their pain and discomfort. What are examples of pain management options?
One of the most common pain management options is the use of medicines. You might have heard about nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are commonly prescribed for mild to moderate pain with inflammation. NSAIDs can provide pain relief brought by arthritis, menstrual cramps, and muscle sprains and strains.
Antidepressants are also effective for pain management. Antidepressants can interfere with the chemicals in the brain; it can help relieve pain and thus improve sleeping habits. These medications are usually prescribed for fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain.
Lastly, the most potent pain medication — opioids. Opioids activate the endorphins; the “feel good” chemicals that suppress the feeling of pain. It is effective in treating post-operative pain. However, opioids are not recommended for long-term use because it can lead to addiction.
Therapies and Other Techniques
Aside from medications, physical therapy and other mind and body techniques are also beneficial in alleviating chronic pain. Physical exercise is a form of physical therapy. But how can you exercise when you can’t even move a muscle due to pain? That may sound reasonable, but physical therapy for pain management is designed to fit a person’s needs. You will not be asked to do things that could worsen the pain. Gradual and mild to moderate exercise that is appropriate for your condition can help build your pain tolerance and is good for you, especially if you have chronic back and neck pain.
If you do not approve of physical exercise to manage your pain, you have another option that includes the mind and body. Have you heard about the relaxation technique? It is a natural way to relieve pain and helps prevent the side effects of taking medications. But of course, any person who is already taking medication can add this to his or her pain management regimen. One of the most common relaxation technique is four-square breathing. How is it done? Breathe deeply (four counts), then hold your breath (four counts), exhale slowly (four counts), and lastly, hold your breath again (four counts). Does it feel good? You may repeat this procedure for five to ten cycles. Other relaxation techniques include gardening, listening to music, walking, meditation, or anything that makes a person feel relaxed and divert his attention from the pain.
These are just a few of the pain management options you can choose. Always make sure to seek professional advice and ask your doctor about the advantages and possible risks for each option. With this strategy, you can successfully deal with chronic pain.