Recurring headaches, migraines, joint pain, muscle aches, back problems: these are just some of the things that send us straight to the painkillers.
Chronic pain can be caused by many different factors. Often conditions that accompany normal aging may affect bones and joints in ways that cause chronic pain. Other common causes are nerve damage and injuries that fail to heal properly.
Some kinds of chronic pain have numerous causes. Back pain, for example, may be caused by a single factor, or any combination of these factors:
- Years of poor posture
- Improper lifting and carrying of heavy objects
- Being overweight, which puts excess strain on the back and knees
- A congenital condition such as curvature of the spine
- Traumatic injury
- Wearing high heels
- Sleeping on a poor mattress
- No obvious physical cause
- Ordinary aging of the spine (degenerative changes)
However , often these conditions deserve a closer look.
Treating pain without discovering the cause is a common problem in medicine. For instance, many people make the mistake of thinking of a headache as a condition – it’s really a symptom. And it can be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
So is there a way to know when pain is just pain and when it is a telling symptom?
It starts with identifying exactly what the pain is.
There are a few types of pain:
Nociceptive pain is something people have a really hard time describing. It is usually not in any isolated area and is rather dull or occasionally throbbing. It is caused by an overstimulation of the peripheral nerve fibers. Nociceptive pain has some subtypes as well: visceral pain – in the organs; deep somatic pain – in the ligaments, bones, blood vessels, tendons, and muscles; and superficial somatic pain – on the skin or surface of the body.
Neuropathic pain is usually describes as burning, piercing, itchy, electric, cold, shooting, etc . The specific painful area is typically very sensitive and the skin in the area may be numb. Neuropathic pain occurs when the nervous system malfunctions or is damaged by something: trauma, disease, drugs, etc . It is subdivided into Centrally and Peripherally Generated Pain. Central pain comes from the brain or spinal cord while peripheral comes from everywhere else.
It is common for a person to experience a mixture of the two.
Psychogenic is less common than the others, but still fairly common. It occurs with mental factors, like stress, anxiety, and depression. Contrary to popular belief, this is not just “in the head”. It is a very real type of pain.
Doctors generally treat nociceptive pain with a painkiller, like Tramadol, but unless you already know the cause and know it is okay, you should be examined because nociceptive pain often comes with potentially life-threatening conditions or diseases.
Neuropathic pain should be diagnosed by a doctor always, even if they usually treat it with a painkiller. If it is unusually persistent or it’s also causing other symptoms, such as fever or vomiting, see a doctor immediately.
Psychogenic pain is difficult to treat and most painkillers are not long-term solutions. For many conditions, psychiatrists can prescribe antidepressants, SSRIs, antipsychotics, and anxiolytics, but painkillers like Tramadol are often used to supplement treatment while the underlying condition is on its way to being controlled. Psychotherapy is commonly recommended as well.
A lot of times, you can just use common sense.
A small cut or a scrape doesn’t warrant at trip to the Emergency Room. However , if you feel like your organs are melting, call an ambulance. Back pain? If you experience it after falling on your tailbone or spine, you should get to a doctor as soon as you can.
The problem with relying on painkillers is that they are habit-forming, have side effects, and build tolerance. Even Tramadol should not be your only way of attacking the most serious pain-causing conditions.