Most of us feel pain from time to time. It is caused by illness and injury and is the brain’s way of alerting us of a problem. Nerves known as nociceptors detect damage to tissue or cells and will send a message to the brain. Once the brain is aware of a problem with the body, we will feel an unpleasant sensation that we call pain. There are different types of pain – acute and chronic.
Acute pain is typically sudden and short-lived and tends to be the result of an injury, surgery, trauma, or illness. Acute pain is split into three categories: somatic pain, visceral pain, and referred pain. Somatic pain is a superficial pain that is felt on the skin or the tissue just below it. Visceral pain comes from the body’s internal organs or from cavity linings in the body. Referred pain is pain that is felt in other parts of the body that has radiated from the actual location of the damage. For example, pain from an inflamed appendix often radiates across the abdomen. Acute pain usually goes away once the cause has been treated.
Chronic pain is different to acute pain in that it lasts much loner and sometimes there is no obvious cause. Furthermore, there is often no cure for chronic pain. It can be a continuous pain or one that comes and goes (which is known as flareups).
Both acute and chronic pain can be mild to severe, depending on the cause.
What is Classed as Severe Pain?
Mild pain is usually manageable and often responds to medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, as pain gets worse it can begin to affect normal functioning. Moderate pain may not respond to your usual pain medication, and you may need something stronger, such as codeine, to relieve the pain. Severe pain can have a massive impact on everyday life though, with those affected often unable to do the things they normally do, like go to work, exercise, or enjoy social activities. Some people find it hard to even get out of bed.
Which Conditions Cause Severe Pain?
While pain is subjective, there are some conditions that are considered to be the most painful, including:
- cluster headaches
- bone fracture
- frozen shoulder
- slipped disc
- heart attack
- sickle cell disease
- acute pancreatitis
- kidney stones
- trigeminal neuralgia
- post-surgical pain
- stomach ulcer.
How is Pain Treated?
How pain is treated depends on the condition and whether this is acute or chronic. For most people with acute pain, medication will help to relieve the pain while the underlying condition is treated. Nevertheless, if the pain is chronic and is not responding to traditional medication, it may be the case that a physician will refer the patient to a pain management doctor, such as those who work at Utah pain clinic KindlyMD.
Pain management doctors are specialists when it comes to evaluating, diagnosing, and treating pain. They have extensive knowledge and experience in the field of pain management and will work with the patient to get to the root cause of the pain before creating a tailored plan of care.
The cause of pain is not always obvious. For example, it might be assumed that chronic back pain has been caused by a problem with the discs, but it might have been caused by years of poor posture or it could be that the patient is obese, and the extra weight is putting pressure on joints.
To conclude, severe acute or chronic pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, but the cause is not always obvious.