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Pain Management W360™
Pain can be caused by many different factors. Often conditions that accompany normal aging may affect bones and joints in ways that cause chronic pain. Other common causes are nerve damage and injuries that fail to heal properly.


Pain is generally divided into two main types: acute and chronic.

• Acute pain is the result of tissue damage and is generally short-lived. The pain gradually disappears through the course of normal healing. Acute pain has an identifiable cause and purpose. Due to the short-term nature of acute pain, persistent psychological reactions rarely result.
• Chronic pain by definition is pain that persists for more than six months. Some people with chronic pain conditions have symptoms for months or even years. Chronic pain may be the result of a specific injury (such as an injury to your back or knee) or an ongoing chronic medical problem (like arthritis, cancer, or shingles). Chronic pain may also occur for no apparent cause, baffling patients and doctors alike. It can hurt all the time or occur on and off. Chronic pain often limits everyday functioning and may lead to additional stressors such as sleep problems, medication side effects, reduced capacity for performing work, financial hardship, and strain on significant relationships. As such, the experience of chronic pain and its accompanying stressors may create feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and helplessness--greatly affecting a person's quality of life.
  What is Pain Management?
The most important issue in pain management is a focus on managing pain symptoms as opposed to looking for a quick fix. Pain management generally encompasses a variety of techniques to be used in combination over time. This multi-modal approach generally includes pharmacological interventions and lifestyle changes (e.g. diet, exercise, stress management) for optimal management of symptoms. To manage your condition, it is useful to think of chronic pain as a chronic disease. Much like heart disease or diabetes, chronic pain may require a long-term treatment approach encompassing medication use in conjunction with behavioral changes to keep your pain symptoms in check.


Pain's Purpose
Aristotle called pain the "passion of the soul." While our notions of pain may not may quite as romantic as Aristotle's, it is important for us to recognize the constructive functions of pain. Pain is the body's mechanism of self-preservation. It tells you when your finger is touching a hot pan or when a fall has resulted in an injury that requires your attention. In this way, pain acts as a warning sign to alert you when damage to your body is occurring or may occur. In fact, the inability to experience pain is a dangerous condition because injury can occur and go unnoticed. For example, one common complication of diabetes is the loss of sensation in the feet. Because of this, people living with diabetes are cautioned to check their feet daily so that injuries are not missed. Because they lack a pain sensation, diabetic might miss being alerted to an injury.


Some kinds of chronic pain have numerous causes. Back pain, for example, may be caused by a single factor, or any combination of these factors:
• Years of poor posture
• Improper lifting and carrying of heavy objects
• Being overweight, which puts excess strain on the back and knees
• A congenital condition such as curvature of the spine
• Traumatic injury
• Wearing high heels
• Sleeping on a poor mattress
• No obvious physical cause
• Ordinary aging of the spine (degenerative changes)


Disease can also be the underlying cause of chronic pain. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are well-known culprits, but persistent pain may also be due to such ailments as cancer, multiple sclerosis, stomach ulcers, AIDS, and gallbladder disease.

Becoming well-informed about these and other pain management strategies is a crucial step toward taking control of your chronic pain condition.

Managing Your Stress
Stress and fatigue increase pain, so stress management is an important component of pain management. While this includes relaxation strategies such as those discussed above, a complete stress management program involves more than relaxation. Stress management means looking at your schedule, planning your day, and setting your priorities. It means scheduling "appointments" with yourself for taking care of you. Getting a good night's sleep is also important for restoring your energy and spirits. Looking carefully at the activities you schedule for yourself and learning to say "no" to some requests for your time is important to do so you do not overload yourself.


We are here to help you Manage Your Pain.

  The first step toward developing a pain management program is to find a knowledgeable physician to assist you with your medication and treatment decisions. Working with your doctor, you play an active role in your pain management program. Your careful documentation of all your diagnostic tests will assist your doctor in making appropriate treatment recommendations and referrals. Likewise, a medication diary in which you document medications used, dosages, side effects, and degree of pain relief provided will provide a useful record of successful and unsuccessful treatment regimens.

While your doctor can assist with the medical management of your pain, it is up to you to take charge of the behavioral interventions that are part of your pain management program. Simply put, you are the one who must take the steps to practice the appropriate lifestyle behaviors that are part of your overall program. Following a healthy diet, practicing relaxation and stress management techniques, and exercising on a regular basis are common recommendations in pain management programs.


In many cases, the source of chronic pain can be a very complex and even mysterious issue to untangle. Although it may begin with an injury or illness, ongoing pain can develop a psychological dimension after the physical problem has healed. This fact alone makes pinning down a single course of treatment tricky, and it is why health care providers often find they have to try a number of different types of curative steps.


In Summary
Seek information. Becoming well-informed about your condition and about effective pain management strategies is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Remember that rarely does only one type of treatment or technique meet all your needs--rather, incorporating multiple treatment strategies to form a comprehensive pain management program is essential for producing optimal results for pain management.