The stress of chronic pain can also cause problems with breathing, digestion, blood pressure, heart and kidneys. Chronic pain sometimes develops after a specific illness or injury, continuing long after any identifiable physical cause can be found. During periods of illness or recovery from injury, patients sometimes learn to express suffering of a nonphysical nature in terms of physical pain.
The signal of pain is not only due to the ailment of the body, but also due to the requirement of body. If a person does not have food or water for long time, he feels the pain of hunger or thirst. If he doesn’t get proper oxygen, he feels the pain of suffocation. There is a pain, when the atmospheric temperature is either too high or too low, when body can’t adjust to the temperature. All signal of pain are so painful that mind has no option but to divert all its energy in solving the problem so that pain can be relieved.
Pretty grim, huh? Well, it’s not without hope and certainly not without resolution. However, it takes a concerted effort including, at times, treatment to get off the pain medication. But it can be done! More and more chronic pain sufferers every day are seeking alternative “bad back” or chronic back pain treatment strategies. Many people suffering from the devastating and deadly complex of chronic pain and depression, addicted to narcotics, are starting to understand that traditional pain management, with its “let’s thrown medication at it” mentality is a black hole from which, if not fully extricated from in time, will completely suck the life out of the individual at risk, literally and figuratively.
Depression, fatigue, anxiety, anger, fear of additional injury or stress/fear of losing a job are all chronic pain’s emotional effects and they interact in complex ways. Emotional negative feelings even affect the body’s production of natural pain killers and increase the production of chemicals that enhance pain. As the pain increases and becomes the focus of the individual, the emotions are also affected negatively and can causing symptom of depression and anxiety.
When a patient has suffered from pain for such an extended period of time there is potential for the nerves to be permanently damaged. Pain itself is not cumulative but the condition that caused the pain may cause permanent damage and this damage to the nerve and/or the nervous system is cumulative. It is important to seek treatment at the onset of pain rather than suffering for years and causing more damage to the nerves than necessary. Once the patient overcomes their fear that they might never be free of pain, and takes that first step toward a non-surgical treatment they are on their way to a new life.
The signal is then sent from the spinal cord up to the brain where it is scrutinised in the light of past experience, genetics, gender, beliefs, expectations, understanding, emotions and other factors. The brain then creates an appropriate response to the perceived situation and if indeed there is the conclusion that the tissues are in danger, then the ‘output’ from the brain will be pain. It is important to understand that pain is one response of many with others including the healing process, reflex changes, blood flow changes, hormone activity and immune system processes. All of these and others are part of an overall protective response that serves us well in terms of survival. This is all normal and expected despite the unpleasantness of pain. But that is the whole point of pain, to grab our attention so that we do something about it.
As stated earlier, all of this information regarding the influences upon pain allows us to understand in greater depth the processing that leads to the final experience. So often individuals become inactive and continue to adapt the way in which they move for fear of further damaging tissue. In fact what the tissues really need is movement to improve their health, but usually in a gradual way so as to allow the sensitivity to reduce through moderation of the threat value. The brain becomes very good at producing pain and in fact shows actual changes in structure. This has been demonstrated as being reversible in line with reductions of pain and improved control of movement. However, this takes ‘brain training’ and there are some exciting new treatments that are based on neuroscience that can ‘re-wire’ the system to reduce pain.
Whether you suffer from headaches, back pain, neuralgia, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, RSD or abdominal or pelvic pain, no single treatment is effective for all conditions. Some types of pain do not even respond to strong pain medications. Depending on your diagnosis, other medical conditions, age, and personal preferences, treatment may include medications, physical treatment, electrical nerve stimulation, nerve blocks (injections of numbing medication or cortisone), counseling, or other modalities. The effect of a healthy lifestyle on chronic pain is well known. A fit body and good attitude can affect the endorphin/enkephalin brain chemical systems which can act as natural pain killers. A good diet, regular exercise, and an active life are useful adjuncts to other modalities of pain treatment.
Pain-free foods are foods that do not cause any pain or allergy leading to pain. They include rice, green vegetables, colored vegetables (with the exception of tomatoes). They are all safe for consumption in any amount.
The tissue which the nerve usually is associated with may malfunction and not work congruently or consistently. The pain can follow the area to where the nerve would normally supply. The best example of this is the sciatic nerve pain emanating from a slipped disc at L5 that follows the nerve to the outside shin and down to the big toe. Some pain emanating from the spine can be accompanied by intense itching, along with shooting, burning and lancinating pain, which may or may not be accompanied by hypersensitivity.