Pain Management
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What is Pain Management?

Did you know that more than 86 million Americans suffer pain? Or that
about 80% of Americans will suffer at least one episode of back pain in
their lifetimes? Back pain is a common complaint and a leading reason
people seek medical care. There are many causes of acute or chronic
back pain such as back strain, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis. But how
is back pain treated? What happens if pain doesn't go away? To help
answer those questions and others, this article provides information about
many aspects of pain management including:

* Different types of pain
* The role of the pain management specialist
* Diagnosis; determining the cause of pain
* Pain relieving treatments
* Pain control improves lives

Different Types of Pain
Most often, pain is classified as being either acute or chronic. Broader
definitions and examples follow.

Acute pain may begin suddenly and is often described as feeling sharp. It
is likened to the body's warning system signaling something is wrong. Most
times, acute pain is quickly resolved, although by definition it may last 3 to 6
months. Patterns of recovery from acute pain are usually predictable and
aid in developing a treatment plan. Pain specialists realize it is important to
control acute pain to prevent it from becoming chronic. Causes of acute
pain include:

* Broken bones (spinal vertebral fracture)
* Burns or cuts
* Certain diseases
* Dental work
* Labor and childbirth
* Soft tissue injury, such as whiplash
* Surgical pain (post-operative pain)

Chronic pain is defined as lasting longer than 6 months, is persistent and
may be severe. Chronic pain is more difficult to treat. A multidisciplinary
approach, involving several specialists who offer treatment separately or
simultaneously, has become a standard of care. Such specialists include
physiatrists and anesthesiologists.

Chronic pain affects people physically and emotionally. Physical symptoms
include muscle tension, loss of mobility, lack of energy and appetite. The
emotional affects can be similarly devastating and include depression,
anger and anxiety. Causes of chronic pain can include:

* Arthritis (osteoarthritis)
* Cancer
* Degenerative disc disease and other spinal disorders
* Nerve dysfunction (with or without nerve damage)
* Soft tissue injury, such as trauma from a fall or motor vehicle accident
* Unresolved disease or injury (psychogenic pain)

There are many kinds of pain that can be described as acute or chronic.
Some include:

Myofascial pain is caused by painful trigger points that develop in a
muscle or a group of muscles. A trigger point is a locally sensitive and
tender area in a muscle or where a muscle and fascia (band-like tissue
encasing muscle) meet. Myofascial pain may cause 'referred pain'
because when a trigger point is pressed the pain may be felt elsewhere.
This pain may be chronic and described as nagging, burning, aching or
stabbing.

Psychogenic pain presents as real physical pain caused by a
psychological problem. This means the pain is caused by the patient's
mental or emotional issues.

Radicular pain, or radiculitis, is caused by inflammation of a spinal nerve
root. Other associated terms are 'cervical radiculitis' or 'lumbar radiculitis'
meaning the pain originates from a cervical (neck) or lumbar (low back)
spinal nerve. Sciatica is a commonly used term to describe pain that
descends into the leg. Different disorders can cause spinal nerve
compression, inflammation and pain. A spinal tumor or cyst, disc
herniation, spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis can cause radiculitis.

Somatic pain is caused by bodily injury or other event affecting the pain
receptors in the skin, ligaments, muscles, bones, or joints. This pain may
be chronic and is sometimes associated with cancer.

Visceral pain is caused by internal organs that are damaged or injured.







Courtesy of http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article3336.html
Acute Pain
Chronic Pain
Myofascial Pain
Psychogenic Pain
Radicular Pain
Somatic Pain
Visceral Pain