What is Pain?

Hello all.

This will be a series on pain and how you can get more relief from pain. Not all pain is damaging physically to our bodies. With all the talk about opioid prescription pain medications and addictions this is a very important topic to talk about.

First, some background on different types of pain and reasons to seek out care. Safe, effective care.

Pain is transmitted to the brain as a stimulus that tells us something is wrong. So all pain traces back to the brain. That is how we feel pain.

Now there are different types of pain which we will list here:

  • Acute pain- pain that is sudden and short term

  • Chronic pain-classified as pain that last longer than 6 weeks.

  • Nerve pain- pain that follows the pathway of a nerve(usually sharp or burning type sensation)

  • Soft tissue pain- pain that originates from damage to a muscle, ligament, tendon or fascia

  • Referred pain- can be from a nerve, trigger point, or even organs (think left arm pain when having a heart attack)

  • Emotional pain- this one is difficult to pinpoint because our emotions and thoughts can enhance the pain we are feeling or create sensations in our bodies that might not necessarily be causing damage to a tissue

These types of pain can happen along with each other or independent from each other. The goal of a healthcare provider is to discover which the patient is experiencing. It is not so cut and dry as going through a list because majority of the time multiple types of pain are occurring.

Being a good detective will help to better form a diagnosis and how to properly treat these types of pain.

The problem arises when pain becomes chronic. There are many things that our brains do to tell us something is wrong and deciphering between the best options for treatment is tricky but an integrative approach to pain management is key.

We will discuss in further entries about chronic pain because that is the type of pain that prescription pain medications are so often prescribe. These medications do work in short term but majority of the time they cause even more problems down the road such as addiction. People will still have the pain and create a different problem of addiction.

This in my opinion is not a good treatment option for people with chronic pain as their life seems to spiral in the wrong direction without ever treating the cause of that pain.

In good health,

Dr. Kauffman