Nobody likes pain — well, almost nobody — but it would be hard to live without it. Pain is what keeps us from sticking our hands into the fire, and it’s often how we know to seek treatment when something is wrong. But there are also times when the cause of pain is mysterious or when the pain seems to have no purpose. And any chronic, persistent pain can easily cross the line from being “helpful” to annoying or even incapacitating.
And so, we seek ways to manage or eliminate our pain. We consult doctors; we take pills. We undergo surgeries — whatever it takes to get back to a pain-free life. Sometimes, though, the treatment can be worse than the disease. So we should always consider our options for safe pain management before we take any drastic steps searching for a cure for pain.
Where Does Your Pain Come From?
When considering safe pain management options, you need first to understand — as much as possible — the type of pain you are experiencing. Pain is often classified according to whether it is related to tissue damage (nociceptive) or nerve damage (neuropathic).
- Nociceptive pain often has an obvious source — a broken leg, for example, or a dentist’s drill. It can also be more mysterious internal, visceral pain resulting from gallstones or IBS.
- Neuropathic pain can sometimes seem to come from nowhere and be harder to diagnose or treat.
Both nociceptive and neuropathic pain can also be classified as psychogenic if the pain is worsened or prolonged by stress, anxiety, fear, or depression.
Is Your Pain Acute or Chronic?
Acute pain can come on suddenly and lasts for a relatively short time. Chronic pain is longer lasting and more resistant to treatment.
Acute pain typically results from damage to tissues such as muscles, bones, or organs — the nociceptive pain mentioned above — while chronic pain is often neuropathic. But it can be vice versa as well.
Do You Treat the Cause or the Symptoms?
Ideally, when a person is ill, one would hope to address what is causing the illness. In our broken leg example, you would repair the broken leg. If you’re treating lower back pain, you would focus on healing and strengthening the back. Since the pain is a side effect, it should go away once the injury is healed. But the body is a complicated mechanism, and sometimes the pain doesn’t go away. Sometimes it persists long after the injury is healed. Sometimes you never find the cause of the pain in the first place.
What do you do then? What do you do when the pain is too much to bear or too persistent?
How Do You Manage Pain?
As you can probably guess, managing chronic pain is a complex problem. You may come across a wide range of suggested solutions. On the more end are surgeries and certain prescription drugs.
With surgery, there are always risks, and there are no guarantees. If surgery addresses a specific underlying condition and less invasive options have failed to provide relief, then it might be your best bet. But proceed with caution.
Likewise, opioids are best avoided. Even with a prescription, it’s all too easy to develop a life-threatening addiction. And when it comes to pain relief, opioids aren’t necessarily any more effective than standard over-the-counter medications. Opioids should only be used for short-term acute pain lasting three days or less.
Pain Management with PrePak Products
Better bets for safe pain management of chronic conditions are often simple lifestyle changes. Exercise more, take steps to reduce stress, and practice meditation or breathing for relaxation. Join a support group or see a physical therapist. Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake. Get a massage or learn self-massage. Eat a balanced diet.
That all might seem like a lot of work when you’re hoping for a quick fix. But these are all highly effective solutions to pain management — and above all, these options are safe.