Pain is a message from the body that it is having trouble in a particular area. Without pain you would remain unaware of any health problems and would never know when the body needed help repairing itself. Disease, injury, and strenuous activity may cause pain in the affected body part, signaling that damage has been incurred. It also signals you to rest the injured area so that tissues can be repaired and so that additional damage can be prevented. Pain motivates you to seek treatment as well. Some people are born with a rare neurological disorder that makes them insensitive to pain. Unfortunately, they do not experience pain when the incur various injuries such as burns, cuts, and fractures, or if they bite their tongue. Because they are unaware of the pain, they cannot prevent damage or seek fast treatment.
Pain can result from a combination
of physical and mental pain. Some people can tolerate pain better than
others. In some people, pain is cyclical; pain produces anxiety and this
anxiety intensifies the pain. Fear of the physical problem and anticipation
of the pain can also heighten the pain. People with an uneasy mind will
suffer more from chronic pain. If one knows why one is experiencing pain,
one can tolerate it better.
There are various techniques to relieve pain. One is heat therapy. By increasing the temperature in a selected area of the body, heat enhances blood circulation and increases mobility in that area. Chronic musculoskeletal problems are best treated with heat therapy. For basic aches and pains, first apply heat to the affected area. Moist heat from a warm shower or hydrocollator can reduce stiffness and relax muscles. Also try a poultice for heat therapy. After heat has been applied, firmly rub and massage the affected area; this will also relieve tension. Do not massage is the area is inflamed or if a serious injury has been incurred. People with phlebitis or other vascular problems should not use massage.
Some injuries respond better to cold therapy because heat may increase swelling. Applying ice will numb the nerve endings in the affected part by reducing the activity of the body cells in that area. Acute sprains or muscle pulls should be treated with ice to relieve pain and swelling. Rub an ice pack on the injured area for about 5-7 minutes in a circular motion.
Alternating hot and cold treatments may work well for injuries.
Many headaches are caused by sinus congestion. Applying pressure to specific areas of the head can open the sinuses and ease tension. Rub the area surrounding the bones just above and below the eyes, and massage the cheeks directly in line with these points. Hang the head down to facilitate sinus drainage. Also applying heat to the sinuses, especially moist heat can be helpful.
Ben-Gay and Icy Hot are counterirritants that stimulate blood flow to the affected area. Take precautionary measures when using a counterirritant. DO NOT apply a heating pad or cover the area with anything except everyday clothing. Using a heating pad on top of the counterirritant could increase the medicationís rate of absorption into the skin and cause serious damage to the skin. Also, some products such as DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide) could cause the counterirritant to be absorbed into the blood stream if used with any of these rubs. If any pain or injury persists, see the doctor.
Over the counter drugs that can relieve pain include those that contain acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. Never give children aspirin, especially if they have flu-like symptoms. Vitamin C taken with aspirin makes the effects of the analgesic last longer.