Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pain


Pain is an unpleasant sensation often associated with damage to the body. It is the feeling common to such experiences as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone" and is caused by activation of specialized pain-signaling nerve fibers or by damage or disease affecting the somatosensory nervous system.


Pain is a common denominator for all of us. We all have experienced some type of pain, whether it was a bee sting as a child, a broken bone,stitches or several knees surgeries from years of football injuries. However it is often another kind of pain in our lives that can be more debilitating and often hidden deep inside; emotional pain. We all experience these times of our life that are so overwhelming; the loss of employment, the death of a loved one, a broken relationship, broken dreams, disappointment, discouragement, depression and being diagnosed with an illness. We live in a world that avoids pain at all costs, yet is in so much pain. We  invent new ways to experience less and less pain to experience more and more comfort, and yet it only masks a deeper pain that does not go away.
I have been wrestling with this lately about pain, because I find myself in pain alot latley. Yet in the midst of this time I have grown more spiritually during theses times. The question that I have continuously been asked by my support group is, How do we deal with pain? How do you deal with a loveones pain?
Did you know that pain is a very common occurrence in our society today. In fact, in the United States alone it is estimated that one in four individuals experience chronic pain for extended periods of time.
A painful condition can affect almost every area of one's life. It affects psychological reactions, social and environmental effects and physical effects. I have experiencing pain and  feelings of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Loss
  • Anger
  • Low motivation
There have been many studies that link changes in brain chemistry caused by chronic pain over long periods of time. Pain is both a physical and psychological experience that I know effects me in many differant ways like:
  • Enjoyment of life
  • Productivity
  • Relationships with family and friends
  • One's work experience
Individuals dealing with pain often feel misunderstood and alone in their pain experience. Most painful conditions are not physically apparent. When someone has a broken leg with a cast others can see this and express sympathy and understanding due to noticing their problem.
Since many painful conditions are not visible to others, it is not surprising that feelings of depression, sadness and anger happen when a person dealing with pain receives no sympathy or understanding from others.
Pain also affect one's psychological defenses as well as one's level of energy.
The experience of continual pain beats on the person to where their sense of control, quality of life and enjoyment of life has turned their life upside down.   
There are ways to assist those dealing with chronic pain to better handle and manage the psychological, social and physical aspects of their pain. Most medical providers who treat chronic, painful conditions agree that approaching pain treatment from differant perspectives is the ideal way to help the individuals dealing with chronic pain most effectively.
  • A Pain Specialist, often with advanced training in Pain or even having earned a separate "degree" in Pain Medicine usually heads the team.
  • A Psychologist, who has studied pain and other chronic conditions, will help the person, his/her family and significant others with whom the individual interacts.
  • A Nurse or Physiologist, who helps the patient and the team by assisting with education of the person and family of the treatment options available and to help coordinate their care with the whole team.
  • A Physical Therapist, who will work with the person dealing with pain and the team to provide the best physical activities, exercises and treatments to help the person to strengthen, deal with their lack of use of a particular limb or muscle group, and help the patient better deal with activities of daily living.
  • A Psychiatrist might be a member of the Multi-disciplinary Team to assist with control and adjustment of the many forms of medication that people dealing with chronic pain need for pain control, depression and anxiety.
Two years ago I was asked by a doctor to attend a pain specialist and  I was finally relieved to know that that my pain was going to be delt with by giving me the combination to a pain free cocktail.What I didnt expect is the clinic dealt with my pain mind, body and soul. In the early stages of my disease , I was experiencing pain and not dealing  with my life.I didnt know how to deal with my pain so therefore I couldn't deal with my life! Once the I realizes that I was part of the solution to my own care and treatment,  my attitude changed, which caused me to recognize with or without my pain I have to  live my  life. Learning to live with my life and managing the pain became my goal. I started using  all the resources for pain treatment from the medical side together with my new attitude and  found that I didn't need so much medication anymore. Chronic pain conditions are common, and technology is available to treat pain. Individuals suffer emotionally, physically, financially and personally. There are new treatments developing every day, around the world to help deal with these conditions. Psychological, social, environmental and physical factors must be treated at the same time. Understanding and careing is the key to treating lives of those who deal with pain, helping them have control over their lives. 


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