September Is Pain Awareness Month – Listen When Your Body Calls Out In Pain

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Ouch! …How many times do you go through life experiencing pain? Truth be told; nobody likes pain. No wonder the pharmaceutical sector is a multi-billion enterprise. Isn’t medicine one of the most prestigious careers? Why? Because doctors magically wave pain away – well at least we hope they can!

Research has shown that pain some kinds of pain are more common than diabetes and cancer combined. Actually it’s been found that 80% of adults will experience some form of back pain during their lives.

Pain is not a pleasant experience since it drains your senses and eats away on your emotions. A healthy body is one of the best possessions you can ever have and that’s why exercising has become a fundamental part of modern living. But can you ever go through life without experiencing pain? No. Can you imagine what it would be like to feel nothing when you touch hot charcoal or when you shower with scalding hot water?

Pain, though unpleasant, is one of the ways your body communicates that something‘s not right and needs your attention.

In 2001 the American Chronic Pain Association set aside September as pain awareness month to provide information about understanding pain and to help people learn about various ways to handle it. Pain varies in intensity and magnitude from one person to another. However, medical experts have tried to categorize pain in various ways such as:

Acute Pain versus Chronic Pain

Ever experienced some sharp pain out of the blues and it disappears as suddenly as it came? That’s acute pain. It usually occurs due to damage on the body tissues such as muscles and other organs and is often triggered by anxiety or constant emotional distress. Chronic pain on the other hand lasts longer and is constantly present. One is likely to develop psychological problems such as depression due to these two types of pain; more so chronic pain that’s more persistent.

Is It Your Tissues or Nerves Causing You Pain?

The two most common types of pain are as a result of tissue damage (nociceptive pain) or damage on the nerves (neuropathic pain). Heavy impact on the muscles or joints can cause damage to the body tissues resulting in nociceptive pain. For example, a bee sting or stubbing your toe will result in this kind of pain. Once the damaged tissue is taken off or heals, the pain often goes away. You can recognize tissue related pain by a sharp pain, an ache or a throb that comes and goes.

Neuropathic pain on the other hand results from a break down in your nervous system. Nerves are the body’s signalling devices and when one malfunctions, you are likely to experience pain. Such malfunctions are brought about by an injury or illness that changes the function of a particular nerve. Honestly, you can’t pin point the exact cause of neuropathic pain but circumstances such as amputation, chemotherapy and diabetes result in body changes that disrupt nerve functions.

As a result of either of these two pains, you may experience psychogenic pain
which is associated with fear, anxiety or depression. Psychological pain has its roots from chronic pain that has affected you for a long time. Damage to the tissues and nerves may affect your psychological functions and may manifest in the form of migraines that can be very painful.

Can Chronic Pain Be Managed?

Oh yes. While acute pain is often treated using drugs, chronic pain can be quite stubborn and the best you can do is learn how to manage it. There are various ways you can do this:

  • Body relaxation techniques – Activities such as yoga and meditation send relaxation signals to your body which helps alleviate pain. Next time you feel that annoying pain on your back or lower abdomen, try meditation and channeling positive energy through your body maybe what you need. Another great non-pharmaceutical option for managing pain is therapeutic massage.
  • Diet therapy – There are certain types of foods that have nutrients which neutralize pain. Ginger for example is known to take care of achy muscles. Another great source of these vital nutrients is juicing blueberries which are known to have a soothing effect. In case you are nowhere near berries, oranges and berries offer a great alternative.
  • ExerciseKeeping fit helps produce endorphins which are ‘natural happy chemicals’ which in turn block any pain signals in your body. But exercise makes me feel pain? Well, yes thus you have to ease into a favorable routine that won’t cause any further damage to your body.
  • Sleep – When in pain, sleep becomes a problem. Therefore, stay away from things that may tamper with your sleep such as alcohol, stress and cigarettes. Let your body rest and it will in turn reward you with less bouts of pain.
  • Track your pain levels – Keep a log on the intensity of pain throughout the day. You need to also note the activities that triggered the pain. When you go on your next doctor’s visit, your physician will advise you on how to better manage your pain.

Since September is Pain Awareness month, you need to pay attention to your body and embrace simple ways of alleviating that pain. Dismissing even the mildest pain may cause you future problems; thus listen to that pain and address it accordingly.

To learn more about Pain Awareness month, visit the American Chronic Pain Association has a variety of reviews on products that will help alleviate your pain and add positively to your well-being

Mary Kihoro, TopProducts Staff Writer