Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. It can indicate illness, injury or even something more serious, like disease. While pain certainly serves a purpose by telling us to pay attention to our bodies, it can also be a source of great discomfort that interferes with our enjoyment of life. Modern medicine provides many options for managing pain. The first step is identifying what type of pain you have.
Pain is often classified into two major categories: acute and chronic. Acute pain is short-lived and typically brought on by illness, injury or surgery. Bone fractures, burns, cuts and childbirth are some examples of acute pain. When pain persists for more than three months, it is considered chronic. Chronic pain may continue after the injury or condition has healed, and may have emotional side effects, such as depression or anxiety. Pain that stems from nerve damage, arthritis and cancer are some examples of chronic pain (Source: WebMD).
Most cases of acute pain clear up when the underlying cause is treated. However, acute pain has the potential to become chronic if it is not dealt with properly. When patients do not respond to typical pain management treatments, seeing a specialist is the next step. Pain management specialists provide an array of treatment options to control chronic pain. Prescription anti-inflammatories, pain killers and muscle relaxers are among the most common treatments. Alternative therapies, such as steroid injections, shockwave therapy and pain stimulator insertion may also be explored to provide optimal relief.
Most health insurance policies cover pain management, which means that treating chronic pain is not only possible, but affordable. If you are experiencing chronic pain, check with your insurance provider for coverage information (Source: Surgery Center of New England).