Don’t Let Pain Be a Pain in the Butt-What You Need to Know About Chronic Pain

Pain is both a good thing and a discomfort. It is good because if we didn’t have pain, we wouldn’t remove our finger from the hot stove. It’s a bad thing because if you are experiencing chronic pain, you are distracted, unable to keep your mind on your work or family, and you are at risk for depression. In this blog, I will discuss the management of chronic pain.

Why do we feel pain?

Pain is important. It lets us know that something is wrong and action to remedy the situation is required. When we touch a hot stove with a hand, the body sends signals along the nerves, up the spinal cord and to the brain alerting us – “Ouch, get the hand off the hot stove now!”

Signals are then sent urgently from the brain, back down the spinal cord, to the hand and we thankfully move it quickly off the hot stove before we experience a burned finger.

Pain that won’t go away.

Temporary pain that results from a known cause and that goes away after you heal is called acute pain. Pain that lasts beyond the normal healing process is called chronic pain. It is caused by changes that take place in the nervous system itself.

A fire alarm signaling a fire is like acute pain. It is the fire that is the problem. The alarm is alerting us to the fire so that we can put it out or move to safety.

A fire alarm signaling every day for months on end with no fire in sight – that is chronic pain. Here the fire is no longer a problem; the alarm or the signal itself is the problem.

In chronic pain the nerves that signal pain react differently and longer than they should. We may feel pain numbness, tingling , burning or an electric like shock. Some of the most common types of chronic pain are related to:

In chronic pain the nerves that signal pain react differently and longer than they should. We may feel pain numbness, tingling , burning or an electric like shock. Some of the most common types of chronic pain are related to:

  • Low back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Shingles
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Treatment

Chronic pain can be a debilitating condition and is often under-diagnosed and under-treated. There are many types of both drug and nondrug treatments that can be helpful in reducing pain. By reducing pain we are better able to work, to attend social activities and be with family, and to ease our suffering. No one treatment fits every person, but every person deserves relief from chronic pain.

Bottom Line: There are two types of pain, acute and chronic, but it is chronic pain that brings so many people to the attention of a physician. If you are experiencing chronic pain and would like to know what options you may have including non-opiate (narcotics) alternatives, please go to my website, www.lonsethpain.com or contact my office at 504-327-5857 to arrange a consultation.