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Published On: Wed, Dec 9th, 2020

Effective ways of pain management

Pain is a protective mechanism in our bodies, signalling that something is wrong. It is a part of evolution that protects us from danger and harm. However, it shouldn’t turn into a problem that won’t let you live. We’ll talk about different pain-relieving strategies that really help to ease your pain away.

Non-medical ways

  • Cold and heat. Ice packs immediately after an injury will reduce swelling. Heat packs are great for relieving chronic muscle or joint injuries.
  • Massage. This pain-relief method is better suited for soft tissue injuries and should be avoided if the pain is in the joints. 
  • Physical therapies which include walking, stretching, strengthening or aerobic exercises. Increase your exercise gradually to avoid over-doing it.
  • Relaxation techniques – including yoga, meditation and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). This therapy can help you learn to change how you think, feel, and behave about pain. This is a great strategy for learning to self-manage chronic pain
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy. Electrical currents pass through the skin via electrodes. It prompts a pain-relieving response from the body. 
  • Acupuncture. This component of traditional Chinese medicine involves inserting needles into specific points on the skin. It restores balance within the body and encourages it to heal by releasing natural pain-relieving compounds (endorphins).
  • Hypnosis. A psychologist or doctor guides you into an altered state of consciousness and helps you to focus or narrow your attention. Hypnosis methods include:
    • Imagery: when psychologists guide you through imaginary mental images of sights, tastes, smells, sounds, and feelings.
    • Distraction: it is usually used to help children, especially babies. Using colourful, moving objects, singing songs, telling stories, or looking at books can distract preschoolers. Adults might find watching TV or listening to music helpful. 
    • Relaxation/guided imagery: when you are guided through relaxation exercises such as stretching and deep breathing.
  • CBD. The human body contains a big system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in managing a variety of functions including appetite, sleep, immune response and pain management. Your body produces endocannabinoids, which bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system. Studies have found out that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters. You can choose the variant which suits you: CBD isolate, full-spectrum or broad-spectrum, CBD capsules or even CBD gummies.

photo/ Wolfgang Claussen via pixabay

Pain medicines

The main types of pain medicines are:  

  • Aspirin  – for short-term relief of fever and mild-to-moderate pain
  • Paracetamol – for short-term pain
  • Opioid medications – for severe or cancer pain
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – for inflammation reduction (redness and swelling)
  • Local anaesthetics
  • Some anti-epileptic medicines
  • Some antidepressants

Pain medicines work in different ways. For example, Aspirin and other NSAIDs reduce inflammation and fever by stopping chemicals called prostaglandins. However, Prostaglandins help protect the stomach from stomach acid, which is why Aspirin and other NSAIDs can cause irritation and bleeding in some people.

Opioid medicines work in a different way. They change pain messages in the brain. That’s why these medicines can be addictive.

Choosing the right pain medicine

Your choice of medicine to combat pain will depend on: 

  • the location, duration, intensity, and type of pain
  • the impact your pain has on your lifestyle, for example, how it affects your appetite or quality of sleep
  • any activities that may ease the pain or make it worse
  • other medicines you take
  • your other medical conditions 

We recommend you to discuss medical pain-relief methods with your doctor, so that you choose the safest and most effective pain relief option.

Author: Lucas Arlo

sad depressed man pain suffering

photo/ beeboys via adobe stock license

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