PAIN MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW
It is estimated that one in five Australians lives with chronic pain. This prevalence rises to one in three people over the age of 65.
The prevalence of chronic pain is projected to increase as Australia's population ages – from around 3.2 million in 2007 to 5 million by 2050.
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What Causes Pain?
When you are suffering from pain, what triggers the agony you are going through canstem from any of the following:
Fractures resulting from osteoporosis, arthritis or a bone disorder.
Sitting for long periods
Normal wear and tear on the spine from aging
Unexplained pain syndromes
Anyone in pain will tell you, “It hurts!” Pain symptoms run the gamut from shooting, sharp, stabbing pains in the spinal column, the upper and lower back and extremities to light – headedness and dizziness and tingling, numbness or burning sensations in the hands or feet.
Types of Pain
Not all pain conditions are of an anatomical type, such as neck, shoulder, arm, back or leg pain. An important part of pain management is understanding the types of pain and the medical reasons that explain why your pain is occurring. Sources of common types of acute and chronic pain include, but are not limited to:
Arthritis, a disease that causes chronic pain due to inflammation of the joints. While arthritis is associated with aging, people of all ages can develop arthritis. There are more than 100 kinds of arthritis that can affect different areas of the body.
Arthritis of the Cervical Spine or Spondylosis is a condition arising from a variety of causes. Your entire spine has joints, which give you the ability to flex, extend and rotate your body. Facet joints may be damaged in an accident, or can become painful when arthritis in the upper or cervical area of the spine develops
Arthritis of the Lumbar Spine is another arthritic condition that affects spine joints in the neck, mid back and lower back (lumbar) area. Spine joints permit the spine to flex, extend and rotate.
Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of joint tissue and leads to joint pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis generally affects the small finger joints, wrists, knees and toes. In some cases, the severity of joint deformity or pain from rheumatoid arthritis may require surgery.
Bulging Disc refers to spinal disc herniation, a medical condition in which a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc allows the soft, central portion to bulge, herniate, protrude or tear.
Cancer Pain has many causes, but generally occurs when a tumor presses on nerves or body organs, when cancer cells invade bones or body organs and from chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery used to treat cancer.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist, causing tingling and numbness in the thumb, index, and the middle fingers.
Cervicalgia (Neck pain) – The most common syndrome pain doctors see in clinical practice is intermittent neck and shoulder pain, called cervicalgia, which occurs toward the rear or the side of the cervical vertebrae.
Any of the structures in the neck including vascular, nerve, airway, digestive and musculature/skeletal may cause neck pain or the pain can come from sleeping posture, stress, a head injury, a herniated disc, whiplash or esophageal, thyroid or tracheal trauma.
Spinal Cord compression (Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy) is a common neck condition that typically affects individuals over 50 years of age. The condition develops when bone fragments from a vertebral fracture, a tumor, abscess, ruptured intervertebral disc or other lesion compress the spinal cord. When compression begins to cause symptoms, the damage usually worsens and becomes a medical emergency that requires immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is not actually a disease. DDD is a condition that often comes with age. If discs become stiff and painful, you may need treatment.
Headaches refer to pain in the area of the head or neck and on a variety of forms such as, migraine, cluster, tension and occipital. serious. Stress, depression anxiety, lack of sleep or missing meals can bring on headaches. Causes of headaches can be debilitating if they are acute and are not treated. Although rare, a brain aneurysm, a brain infection like meningitis or encephalitis, a brain tumor or stroke can also cause headaches.
Facet Joint Disease – also referred to as facet joint syndrome, (deterioration of cartilage that cushions the facet joints) is an arthritic condition that affects the facet joints in the spine. Facet joint disorders are a leading cause of neck and back pain.
Failed Back Syndrome (FBS)/Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) FBS and FBSS refer to chronic back and/or leg pain that occurs after spinal surgery. Common symptoms include dull and aching pain in your back and/or legs and in some cases; you may experience sharp pains in your legs and arms. Medication, physical therapy or other pain management treatment may be necessary.
Herniated Disc is a disc that has slipped or ruptured, meaning the fluid in the disc that normally serves as a cushion between the vertebrae in your spine becomes less spongy, and as a result the nerves in your spinal column are irritated, causing pain. Falls, accidents, abrupt twisting or heavy lifting can cause discs to slip or rupture and exert pressure on the nerves next to the disc.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is a chronic condition that affects the connective tissue that covers the muscles, causing pain and inflammation in the body’s soft tissues. The pain may develop from excessive strain on a particular muscle or muscle group, ligament or tendon and a wide range of other causes from general fatigue to injury of an intervertebral disc.
Peripheral Neuropathy is a medical term used to describe damage to the nerves that carry information to and from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. The condition, which can produce pain, tingling and loss of feeling as well as an inability to control muscles, may be caused by nerve diseases or trauma to the nerves.
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic, painful and progressive condition that can affect nerves, muscles, joints, bones and skin. Generally, RSD develops in an injured limb such as a broken arm or leg or possibly following surgery and may involve nerves located near the spinal column.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction is a condition affecting the sacroiliac joint. The connection of the sacrum and the right and left iliac bones in the pelvis form the sacroiliac joints (SI), which also connect the spine to the pelvis. The SI joints have a layer of cartilage that covers the bone structure and acts as a shock absorber allowing for some movement. Causes of dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint may be traumatic, biomechanical, hormonal or inflammatory joint disease.
Sciatica also known as Radiculopathy, is a common, usually painful lower back pain associated with the sciatic nerve that extends from the lower back down to the back of each leg. Pain commonly radiates from the lower back to the buttocks and can extend down the leg. Pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis and pregnancy can all cause sciatica. Radiculopathy can also occur as a result of compression of nerves in the neck and can lead to pain radiating down the arms.
Spinal Stenosis – Nerve roots and spinal cord travel through the spinal canal. Some people are born with a small spinal canal, but most often the space narrows with age, or perhaps due to rheumatoid arthritis or Paget’s disease. Whatever the cause, if the spinal canal becomes smaller, it can squeeze the nerves and the spinal cord and cause pain anywhere in your spine, but stenosis (narrowing) most often develops in the lower back (lumbar) or in the neck (cervical) area.
Spondylolisthesis – a condition in which a bone (vertebra) in the lower part of the spine slips out of the proper position onto the bone below it. There are different forms of the condition that include congenital, isthmic, degenerative, traumatic, pathological and post-surgical spondylolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis may be due to aging, arthritis or can be sports related.
Vertebral Compression Fractures occur in the spine, commonly due to osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to lose their strength and density.
Whiplash Injury – In medical terms is actually a strain or sprain in the neck. Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash although a fall or sporty injury can also cause the condition. The pain from whiplash can occur immediately after the injury or from days to weeks after the insult.