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Pain Management

Pain management means getting the right treatment for physical and emotional pain, whether it is sharp, dull, aching, burning, strong or mild.

What is Pain?

However it feels, pain comes from messages between the brain and specialized nerves. Pain experiences vary from one person to another. Pain can be acute or chronic.

Acute pain is sudden and typically resolves within a certain amount of time, usually a few weeks to months. It can result from an illness, injury or surgery. Acute pain is normal and often serves as a protective response from your body. With acute pain, you will generally be encouraged to stay active and gradually return to your normal activities.

Chronic pain persists for generally three months or more. A Center for Disease Control report on chronic pain estimates it affects approximately 50 million U.S. adults. High-impact chronic pain that interferes with work or life most days or every day affects approximately 20 million U.S. adults.

Retrain your Brain

Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain is not usually due to ongoing tissue injury. Injuries to muscles, bones, ligaments and disks usually heal in three to six months. To assist with treatment, it can be appropriate to use medications initially and then taper down over time according to a doctor’s care plan.

Chronic pain is often due to increased sensitivity of the nerves. This means that we must retrain the brain’s reaction to pain.

Active approaches are best for retraining the brain. Physical therapy, yoga, and general exercise are some examples. Diet and lifestyle also affect how our brain perceives pain.

Pain influences people’s lives and can affect your mood and stress levels. Finding ways to reduce stress can help treat pain by winding down the nervous system.

Treatments

Every person experiences and responds to pain differently. You are not alone and there is hope in behavioral, physical, and pharmacological alternative options. No single treatment works for everyone.

If you are experiencing pain, you and your provider can discuss and determine the best treatment plan for you.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2019

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