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Neck pain is extremely common and often doesn't require treatment, but if you are suffering...
3 April 2013 | Read Article »
Pain from a mere signal to unending torment
Pain: What is it? Why is it There?
Pain – Friend or Foe?
Most people will experience pain at some point in their lives. Although this is unpleasant, it is actually the body’s natural warning system and is there to remind you that you need to take your foot of the gas for a while. If you continue doing the same things and stressing the body in the same way, you will get the same results and the pain will either be sustained or even get progressively worse. Pain is your body’s way of sending messages back to your brain and saying “STOP” – if you continue, you may do yourself more harm and possibly a serious injury.
The body is amazing and copes the all the physical, chemical and mental stresses we throw at it day in, day out, year in, year out. However, all too often we try to ignore the pain and carry on regardless with all the same activities – this does not make sense.
How Pain is Created
There are many different types of nerve endings (sensors) throughout the body that may react to different stimuli such as: pressure, temperature, muscle tension etc. These sensors have varying degrees of sensitivity if they get over-stimulated they send information back to your brain, thus resulting in you experiencing pain. Pain comes in many forms and be described as throbbing, numbing, dull, burning or stabbing. The location of pain may indicate a problem in that region, however sometimes this can be misleading as the cause of the pain may lie elsewhere. For example, you may have pain or numbness in your left foot, but the source of these symptoms may actually be the lower back.
Acute Pain – Chronic Pain
There are two forms of pain so we must first distinguish between acute and chronic. The causes for acute pain are generally fairly easy to diagnose. Acute pain may be unpleasant, but wears off when the cause is eliminated. The reasons for chronic pain are more complicated and can be difficult to treat. Frequently its causes are not just physical, but may be chemical (diet and medication) or psychological. Chronic pain usually lasts longer than six months and recurs regularly over a long period, often years. People who suffer from chronic pain become remote and increasingly isolated; and may seem to be hypochondriacs by those that are closest to them.
Pain: A Common Symptom
According to scientific surveys, one in 10 people suffer from chronic pain. The most frequent types of chronic pain suffered are back pain which is the number one disease closely followed by headaches and facial pain, diseases of the vegetative nervous system, cancer pain, rheumatic pain etc. It’s Imperative that the right treatment should start as soon as possible, therefore giving a better chance of a successful outcome. Even in cases where patients have been suffering pain for decades, the right treatment can lead to great results.
Chiropractic and Physiotherapy Methods
Both chiropractic and physiotherapy can be extremely effective in managing pain levels. The practitioner will take a thorough case history and examination, offer a diagnosis and if safe and appropriate start treatment. Various treatment methods may be used eg, Spinal Manipulative Therapy, Joint Mobilization, Massage, Acupuncture, Ergonomic Advice, Nutritional Advice, Stretching, Strengthening Exercises or Laser Therapy.
Low Level Laser Therapy is a very safe and effective method of decreasing inflammation and inhibiting pain.
If conservative methods have been unsuccessful, then referral to an orthopaedic or neurological consultant may be needed and the possibility of surgery becomes more likely. However, before surgery takes place, other methods of pain management may be considered. Pain Clinics may explore the mental or physical causes of pain and control pain via medication, designing coping strategies, exercise classes or various nerve stimulation methods.