Whatever kind of pain you feel—whether it is dull, burning, sharp, throbbing, aching or excruciating—something is causing the nerves in your skin and organs to send signals to your brain that your body is getting damaged.
Your body uses pain as a way to help protect you from further harm. For example, if you accidentally place your hand on a hot stove, pain warns you to take your hand off of it (and quickly!) in order to prevent further damage to your hand.
Pain can last for a short time, which is called acute, or an extended period of time, which is called chronic. Examples of acute pain include that experienced during sports injuries, a headache, childbirth and surgery recovery.
Chronic pain, however, can last for months and even years. This can result from an injury that didn’t heal properly or an ongoing health problem such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, cancer or rheumatoid arthritis.
How to Manage it?
Pain can be debilitating, but with a pain management plan, you can learn to live with and reduce the effects of that pain.
Create a pain diary to track the progress of your pain management. In this diary, list all the medications you are currently taking and what benefit they give you. Take note of the medications that you think are not working well. As you describe the type of pain you feel—throbbing, burning, sharp, aching, etc—use a pain scale from 0 to 10 and note how long it lasts.
- 0 = No pain
- 1 to 4 = Mild pain
- 5 to 7 = Moderate pain
- 8 to 9 = Severe pain
- 10 = Worst pain possible
Every time you visit your doctor, take this diary with you so that he or she can note any changes that need to take place in your pain management treatment.
What If It Isn’t Working?
It’s important to notify your pain management physician if you experience any of the following:
- Your pain gets worse or is out of control.
- You have stomach pain, an upset stomach, constipation, or heartburn that lasts or comes back.
- You don't get better as expected.
- You cannot sleep because of pain.
- You are very worried or anxious or are feeling sad about your pain.
- Your pain medicine isn't working or you have trouble taking it.
We take to heart the goal of helping you regain a normal life and controlling your pain is key to achieving that goal. If you have any questions or think you may have chronic pain, don’t hesitate to call us at 281.364.1122. Our comprehensive pain management team is ready to help you.