Pain Symptoms: An Inevitable Part of the Human Condition

For most of us, the first person to ask us ‘where does it hurt?’ was our mothers. We were likely so young when that question was asked for the first time that we don’t even remember it nowadays. Fortunately, when the human body is still new it’s incredibly strong and resilient. That’s why some people joke that children are made of Indian rubber with the way they can take a pounding and still pop out of bed as spry as possible the next morning, without any pain symptoms.

All good things come to an end, and the invincibility of our youth is no exception. Fortunately, experiencing pain is an incidental occurrence (acute pain) for most of us grown adults. Those with pain symptoms that continue without relief as part of chronic pain syndrome, however, are much less fortunate.

What can the average person do to understand if the pain they are experiencing is temporary and short-term treatable, or a result of an underlying condition that makes those pain symptoms a more long-term treatment scenario? Let’s have a look at that here, along with a discussion of effective pain medication.

Defining Chronic Pain

You’re determined to be suffering from chronic pain syndrome if you have pain symptoms that continue for more than three months, and also if those symptoms do not improve with any medical treatments provided. As well, pain medicine tends to provide only a very temporary reprieve. Most people with chronic pain syndrome find that it is debilitating to the point that it interferes with their daily life.

Chronic pain may become worse because of environmental and / or psychological factors. This can include the way some people can become hypochondriacal and beginning manufacturing and recognizing pain symptoms and conditions that don’t exist because of their ongoing poor health and pain management issues.

The last thing that needs to be mentioned here is that acute pain can progress into becoming chronic pain, and that typically becomes clear once the symptoms are no longer alleviated with pain medicine and / or physiotherapy approaches. A lesser know variant of all this is referred pain, which is when pain originates in one part of the body but is felt in another.

Causes of Chronic Pain Syndrome

As we alluded to earlier, the primary factor in people experiencing these types of ongoing pain symptoms is advanced age. As the human body ages, it’s ability to repair damaged tissues and other structural components decreases. As a result, incidents that cause damage are more likely to result in chronic pain symptoms, and in some cases even when those incidents happen many years or even decades previous.

An excellent example of this is arthritis. It’s quite common for people to suffer a seemingly-harmless injury to a joint in their body, only to have it develop into a chronic pain spot later in life. Another common cause of severe chronic pain symptoms is nerve damage, which can occur for a whole host of reasons.

Chronic pain syndrome can also be a result of people having low levels of endorphins in their spinal fluid. Endorphins are most commonly related to energy and mood, as they’re the ‘feel good’ neurochemicals produced when the body is stimulated positively (for example, the ‘glow’ that you feel after a workout). They’re also released from the brain to counteract pain, and so when a person has a naturally-occurring shortage of them in their spinal fluid then they’re more like to have ongoing chronic pain symptoms.

Chronic Pain Complications

There are a number of ways people can develop secondary complications that grow out of the constant pain they’re experiencing. They include:

  • Depression
  • Mental struggles to concentrate or focus
  • Flu-like symptoms – chills, fever, fatigue, sore throat, headache, cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Topical numbness in one or more locations of the body
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased or decreased urine output
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Common Effective Pain Medications for Chronic Pain Relief

Top of our list here is the one class of pain medications that are both effective AND safe for use when it comes to chronic pain relief. NSAIDs stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and their general safety makes it so that many of them are available without a prescription. Some stronger ones may require a prescription though. Ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam are 3 of them most common NSAID pain medicines taken for chronic pain.

Sometimes physicians will prescribe prescription opioid painkillers like oxycodone or tramadol, among others, to treat severe chronic pain symptoms. These types of medications MUST be both prescribed AND taken with great caution, and only EXACTLY as prescribed by a physician. This is because these are powerful drugs that can lead to drug dependency if used too liberally. These days physicians are increasingly hesitant to prescribe them for this reason.

For lesser chronic pain symptoms, sometimes a non-prescription topical analgesic like Rub A5-35 or Ben Gay will do well for treating chronic muscle pain and discomfort. For any type of pain related to damaged or degenerated tissues, however, these medicines will be insufficient.

Don’t Forget Your Physio Visits

It’s a fact that when it comes to chronic pain relief and getting over pain symptoms, medication is often not as effective as good physical therapy. If you suffer from chronic pain and have never been to see a physiotherapist then you owe it to yourself to see one as soon as possible. It’s not uncommon for long-time pain sufferers to remark that their physio has ‘done wonders’ in reducing the severity of their pain or – in some cases – relieved them of it entirely.