The Pulse

Aches, Pains & Inflammations: Know Your Treatment Options

Posted by SFSH on January 15, 2020

“I feel your pain.” How many times have you heard that over your lifetime? Whether that person was talking about the physical or the emotional, no one ever wants to be in pain. And according to National Health Interview Survey data, an estimated 50 million adults in the United States have chronic pain.

 

Don’t “tough it out” if you’re ever in pain. Whether it be acute; a sudden, short pain; or chronic, long-lasting, steady pain, not treating any of these can cause lasting damage to your body. When you visit your doctor’s office, your health professionals may talk about your discomfort in a bunch of different ways.

 

Learn the differences among aches, pains and inflammations and your treatment options.

 

Aches

Generally, the most common causes of body aches are tension, stress and muscle overuse. When dealing with aches, the type of pain is generally localized to a small part of your body. When your aches are systemic, they’re throughout your body and are usually an indicator of infection or illness.

 

Headaches are some of the most common aches out there. Often times, rest and drinking fluids will relieve tension, but over-the-counter painkillers, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, are great relief for headaches.

 

Body Aches

Dehydration may be a cause of your body’s aches. Water is essential to keeping us not only alive but also functioning properly. When your body loses too much fluid, your whole body can ache due to tension. Aching may come from either your organs or your bones when dealing with vitamin D deficiencies. Kidneys, muscles and bones need calcium to stay healthy. Without vitamin D, these areas could ache.

Pains

Pain is… well, a pain. But it’s also an important communication means that our bodies use to warn us that something isn’t right—that something needs attention. There are two main classifications of pain. They are categorized under tissue or nerve damage.

  • Tissue damage is the most prevalent and most easily identifiable form of pain. The pain itself stems from injuries to body tissue, bones and organs. Fractures, cuts and bruises are all considered tissue pain.

 

  • Our nerves in our bodies act like electric cables that fire signals to the brain. When these nerves are damaged, they can interfere with the way signals are transmitted and pain signals can fire instead. Nerves can be damaged by either disease or injury.

Inflammation

Inflammation is the process by which white blood cells and their by-products protect our bodies from bacterial and viral infections.

 

Arthritis is a general description of joint inflammation and is a very common condition. More than 50 million adults have some sort of arthritis. This can happen due to infection in the joints, or osteoarthritis­­—when the cartilage surrounding your joints breaks down. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis with many different causes and treatments. Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid arthritis. But exercise, weight control and proper posture can help protect your joints.

 

Myositis or muscle stiffness is another common inflammation of the body. Most muscle stiffness will go away on its own, but prolonged stiffness can be a sign of a condition. See a doctor if this occurs. Home relief remedies like heat or ice packs and massage are great cures for stiffness.

Causation

There are many determining factors of the causation of your discomfort, but most stem from injury, infection or disease. Common questions your doctor might ask are…

 

  • Where do you feel pain?
  • How long have you been in pain?
  • How often does it occur?
  • Was there a direct causation?

 

Your personal genes might help determinations into your pain. According to research, chronic pain may be inherited. Age may be a determining factor for your pain, but just because someone is getting older doesn’t mean that pain is inevitable. Everyone’s body reacts differently to different inputs of pain.

Medication

Pain relievers, as their name would suggest, are medicines that can reduce headache and relieve sore muscles and any other aches or pains. There are two types of pain relievers a doctor might suggest or prescribe. They’re over-the-counter medicine or prescription medicine. Common pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and are easily available.

 

If over-the-counter medicines aren’t relieving your pain, you may be in need of prescribed medicine. Opioids are the most powerful pain relievers. While they are very effective at relieving pain, opioids have some side effects, including being addictive. Because of opioids’ intensity, they must be used only under a doctor’s discretion and supervision. 

 

Your treatment plan should focus on reducing pain, whether medicated or not. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best plan.

Unprescribed Tips

Here are some of the best tips for everyday injuries and pains, for when you don’t need to see a doctor.

 

  • Rest: Taking a rest from strenuous and normal activity can help speed up your recovery
  • Elevation: Elevating and temporarily immobilizing hurt body parts
  • Compression: Compressing injured areas of the body can relieve pain as well as reduce swelling
  • Ice or Heat: Applying hot or cold packs onto tender areas can ease pain

 

While age may be a factor in some health conditions, people’s beliefs about aging can have dramatic positive and negative consequences. One study reports that those who had positive self-perceptions of aging when they were 50 years old had better health during two decades following and lived, on average, 7.5 years longer than those who had a negative self-perception.

 

Pain comes in all kind of forms. Use the knowledge above to help you the next time discomfort strikes. Whether it be acute or chronic pain, seek professional help at Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital Urgent Care.

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