Latest Catalogue Pain

Pain

DEFINITION

Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.


DESCRIPTION

The main Pain receptors are the sensory nerve endings found throughout the tissues and organs of the body. These nerve endings respond to various kinds of stimulation - including that which can damage tissues. When body tissue is injured, chemicals are released from the damaged cells - some of which produce Pain.

Pain may be classified as somatic or visceral.
Somatic pain occurs in the skin, muscles or joints and can be further classified as either superficial or deep.
Superficial somatic pain is a sharp, pricking pain that is usually brief and felt on the surface of the skin.
Deep somatic pain is a burning, itching or aching pain that is caused by stimulation of pain receptors in the deep skin layers, muscles or joints. It may spread further than the site of injury and lasts longer than superficial somatic pain. Deep somatic pain indicates tissue destruction.
Visceral pain occurs as a result of stimulation of pain receptors in the organs of the chest and abdomen. Visceral pain is usually felt as a dull ache, a burning feeling or a gnawing pain.

Humans have the same pain threshold. For example, we all feel that heat is painful at 44 to 46 C - which is the range at which it begins to damage tissue. However, pain tolerance (our reaction to pain) can vary widely between people.


TREATMENT OPTIONS

As with all conditions your Doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat the cause and symptoms of Pain.
Remember that Pain may be a warning signal which may require your Doctor investigating further, e.g. persistent joint pain may indicate the presence of a rheumatoid disease.
Ask your Doctor about the current options available for the management of pain and see the other Pain topics in the Pain Management group on the Healthpoint.


VITAMINS/MINERALS/HERBS

Always consult your Doctor before taking any dietary supplements for advice on any possible side effects or drug interactions.
- Pain relievers may increase the need for certain necessary vitamins. The following nutritional supplements may be required while using analgesics:
Aspirin: bioflavonoids, vitamin C, Vitamin B1, B5, B12, K, folic acid, iron, manganese.
Paracetamol: Vitamin E.
- Damage (ulceration) of the stomach lining is a common side effect of chronic NSAID use. This may increase the body's needs for iron if bleeding occurs.
- Fish oil and Evening Primrose Oil are high in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids which may help to reduce pain.
- Herbs that may help to reduce the severity of pain include feverfew which is often used to help reduce the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines. Scullcap may help to relieve nervous tension and muscle spasms which can cause pain and hops is a herb which also has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. Ginger helps to stimulate the circulation and may help to relieve the pain of stiff joints, headaches and inflammation.

Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age unless specified by a Doctor.


ORGANISATIONS & SUPPORT GROUPS

See the Australian Pain Society topic on the Healthpoint.


PHARMACIST'S ADVICE

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
1) Ask your Pharmacist about non-drug methods of pain relief. If your pain is associated with heat and swelling, a cold pack applied to the area may bring some relief. If the pain is associated with stiffness, applying a heat pack and warming liniment to the area may help to ease the pain.
2) Make sure that you are taking the correct pain relieving medication for the particular pain problem. It is not advisable to continue taking the same pain relief medication without consulting your Doctor or Pharmacist. There may be a more suitable medication for your needs or the dosage of the medication may need to be changed.
3) Ask your Doctor or Pharmacist for advice before increasing the dose of a pain relieving medication.
4) Never take pain relievers which have been prescribed for another person. Not all pain relief tablets are the same. Different pain relievers have different effects, different dose recommendations and are suitable for different sorts of pain. Some types of pain relievers may have side effects which the patient may not be aware of e.g. Non-steroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), should not be taken by people with an allergy to aspirin.
5) Consider taking some supplements if the diet is inadequate.

Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age unless specified by a Doctor.