Pain is a common and unpleasant sensation that we will all experience at some point during our lives – in fact, most of us will experience some degree of pain somewhat regularly. Pain can vary in severity, from stubbing a toe to childbirth – from getting a papercut to undergoing chemotherapy. Most people will experience pain of all severities – they will close a finger in the car door, or break a bone, or sustain an even more serious injury. Pain is not just physically unpleasant, it can also lead to severe emotional damage. If pain is severe enough it can even be emotionally traumatic. Everyone experiences pain differently. When we get injured, a signal travels through our nerve endings up to our brain, and our brain subsequently interprets this pain signal. Because the experience varies so significantly on a person-to-person basis, it can be somewhat difficult to diagnose straightaway. Pain can be concentrated in one location or spread throughout the entire body. It can be extremely short-lived or it can be chronic.
The Three Types of Pain
As it stands, there are three main types of pain. Each of the following types of pain will require treatment of some variety.
1. Acute Pain
Acute pain does not last for very long, but it can be extremely severe. When an individual is experiencing acute pain it is because the central nervous system is sending “emergency messages” to the brain, alerting the brain that something is seriously wrong. Acute pain is common when a severe injury is sustained – like a broken bone or a migraine. Once the underlying issue or injury is treated acute pain will generally be resolved. There are several different varieties of acute pain, including visceral pain, referred pain and somatic pain. Visceral pain refers to internal pain, and generally stems from problems with the organs. Referred pain concerns pain that is felt somewhere in the body other than where the issue is occurring. For example, those that are experiencing a heart attack might feel pain in their arm or shoulder. Finally, somatic pain concerns an external pain, or a pain that occurs on the skin or the tissue directly below the skin.
2. Chronic Pain
Unlike acute pain, chronic pain lasts for a much longer period of time. Chronic pain can either be intermittent (meaning it crops up on occasion, like back pain or migraines), or ongoing (meaning the pain is constant). Chronic pain can be mild, moderate or severe. Those that struggle with chronic pain will generally need a combination of medication and holistic interventions to help alleviate their persistent discomfort. If someone who struggles with substance abuse or addiction also struggles with chronic pain, it will be important to find a non-addictive medication that works. Some holistic treatment options for chronic pain include physical therapy, herbal supplements and regular chiropractic assistance.
3. Other Types of Pain
Phantom pain is a type of pain common amongst amputees, and it is characterized by feeling sensations in a limb that is no longer attached to the body. Neuropathic pain refers to pain caused by nerve damage following an injury, and can lead to ongoing feelings of tingling (pins and needles) and general discomfort. Central pain relates to the problems with the brain and the spinal cord, and can be mild or severe. There are many differing types of additional pain, which is why proper and thorough diagnosis is so essential to appropriate treatment.
The Importance of Diagnosing and Treating Pain
Properly diagnosing the pain is important to adequately treating the pain. If you are experiencing unresolved discomfort it is important that you speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. In many cases, the origin of your discomfort will be easily identified and addressed – however, it is best not to put off examination and take the risk. If you have noticed an unidentified source of acute or chronic pain, your explanation of the symptoms will help your healthcare professional determine the cause. During the initial exam, the following questions will likely be asked:
- Is your pain constant, or does it occur at certain times throughout the day?
- Where do you feel the pain, and what does it feel like (dull, sharp, shooting, etc.)?
- Do certain things/positions make the pain feel worse/better?
- Does your discomfort prevent you from completing daily tasks?
- Does it affect your mood?
- Have you attempted to resolve your discomfort through self-medication?
Treating pain of any kind is important for a number of reasons. First of all, it could be an indication of a serious medical problem. Untreated discomfort also frequently leads to substance abuse and addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, chronic pain and drug and/or alcohol abuse often go hand-in-hand. It is estimated that over 100 million Americans struggle with chronic pain – this equates to one-third of the entire population. Unfortunately, those who are struggling with unresolved pain will often be prescribed potent narcotic painkillers, which have an extremely high rate of abuse and often result in addiction and accidental overdose (which can be fatal). At Guardian Recovery Network, we believe that pain can be treated without the use of dangerous narcotics. We have treated numerous men and women of all ages and walks of life for prescription painkiller dependence – men and women that would have benefited from a non-addictive medication or holistic treatment option, but where instead prescribed a potent, habit-forming opioid. Take a look at some non-narcotic and non-addictive treatment options for acute and chronic pain, and if you or a loved one have been struggling with pain-related symptoms and addiction, call us today to learn more about our integrated and comprehensive treatment options.
The Best Non-Narcotic Medicinal Treatments for Pain
It is reported that over 2 million American adults currently struggle with a prescription opioid addiction. Fortunately, there are several effective non-narcotic, medicinal treatment options for pain of all severities. These options include (but are not limited to):
- High-dosage ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Antidepressants/tricyclic antidepressants. These non-narcotic prescription medications typically work very well in the treatment of nerve pain
- Anesthetic injections, generally only used to treat acute pain (usually related to injury or surgery)
- Gabapentinoids. This classification of non-narcotic drugs is also frequently used to treat nerve pain, and has been proven highly effective
The Best Non-Narcotic Holistic Treatments for Pain
There are also many non-narcotic and non-addictive holistic options when it comes to the treatment of pain. At Guardian Recovery Network, we have found that a combination of non-narcotic medication and holistic treatment is the most successful in managing pain long-term. Holistic methods of treatment include:
- Physical therapy
- Relaxation training
- Chiropractic services
- Massage therapy
- Yoga and regular stretching
- Regular exercise
- The use of ice, or other topical remedies like creams and ointments
Guardian Recovery Network and Non-Addictive Pain Treatment
At Guardian Recovery Network, we are dedicated to providing non-narcotic treatment options to those who have been struggling with pain and substance abuse. We believe that with highly individualized and comprehensive care, it is completely possible to make a full recovery without the incorporation of addictive substances. For more information on our comprehensive pain and addiction treatment program, give us a call today – and if you have any additional questions about pain of any kind, we are happy to help in any way that we can.