Dealing with pain can be frustrating, debilitating, and downright challenging. But, we do feel pain for a reason. Understanding more about why we feel pain, how the body communicates pain, and the way the body interprets pain can be useful for those who deal with symptoms of pain daily. This is because once we understand more about pain, we can understand more about how to deal with pain.
Sure, experiencing pain isn’t fun. But, it does serve a purpose. When you feel pain, you know something’s wrong. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need to stop doing whatever is harming you or to seek measures to healing. There are two types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain is any pain which is temporary, such as a sprained ankle or even a paper cut. Chronic pain is any pain which is long lasting. The most common type of chronic pain is lower back pain, but chronic pain can be as a result of illness, injury, or even birth defect. Usually, chronic pain is a result of the body not healing. So, the body just keeps signaling for help by sending pain signals to the brain.
While it’s easy to understand why we need to feel pain, the way the body does so is actually quite complicated, although impressive. Almost 100% of all pain is caused by inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s way of trying to heal an injury. Technically, it’s when the body sends immune cells, nutrients, and other injury-fighting components to the site of the injury to begin healing. It’s characterized by redness, swelling, and increased temperature of the skin. Without inflammation, the body wouldn’t be able to fight infections and even superficial wounds could become fatal. But, inflammation also causes pain.
When an injury occurs and inflammation is present, the body’s nervous system comes into play. We have nerves everywhere in our body which play a key role in feeling pain. When an injury is noted by nerves in the skin, they proceed by sending chemical signals to the spinal cord. Then, the spinal cord communicates with the brain, where the pain is then interpreted and can transform into conscious thought. So, all in all, pain is a result of nerves responding to injury and the body healing itself through inflammation.
Chronic pain, or experiencing pain for long periods of time, can actually lead to changes in the way the body interprets and feels pain. This is believed to be due to nerve sensitivity as a result of constant stimulation due to injury or illness. Brain scans of chronic pain patients have proven that more nervous system stimuli happen to these individuals than those who don’t deal with chronic pain. This results in the body feeling pain more easily and more often. So, it’s common that patients diagnosed with chronic pain may feel pain more severely than everyone else.
To deal with chronic pain, many people have found that prescription opioid medications can provide relief. But, with long-term use, these medications can lead to life-threatening dependence and even offer adverse reactions. Just as nerves can become sensitive when they experience more pain, the brain can become used to the administration of opioids. This is called dependence. And, once it forms, the body requires more of these medications to experience relief from pain. Furthermore, when dependence occurs, not taking opioid medication isn’t an option unless a patient wishes to experience painful withdrawal symptoms.
If you are living with chronic pain and are dependent on your opioid prescription medication, there is a way out. Here at Diablo Valley Medically Assisted Treatment, we specialize in cases like yours. And, we help people comfortably detox from their medications so that they can find and utilize alternative forms of chronic pain relief. Give us a call today at 925-289-1430 to speak with an experienced opioid dependence specialist and see what we can do to help you and your chronic pain!