Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something might be amiss and you might be in danger. People respond differently to pain. Therefore, a stimulus that might cause great pain in in one person might cause less pain in someone else.
It is encouraging that great progress has been made when it comes to the understanding and treatment of pain. At ISM, our doctors and other healthcare providers perform careful evaluation and apply the latest proven technologies for diagnosis and treatment. They treat acute and chronic pain using a multi-disciplinary approach incorporating interventional, physical, pharmacological and psychological methods.
In addition to the many pain conditions we treat, we specialize in treating work and sports related injuries with the goal of getting people back to work and their sporting activities as quickly as possible.
Anatomy of Pain
The nervous system serves as the communication pathway between the body and brain. It has two primary distinctions. The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system. The nerves traveling to and from the spinal cord to the rest of the body make up the peripheral nervous system.
Nerves can be either sensory, motor or both. Sensory nerves allow you to feel by touch, to smell, to see and to hear. Motor neurons sense position or vibration and react to sensations by triggering an action.
Touch a hot burner and a sensory neuron informs your brain by receiving information from the body and sending it along to the brain through the spinal cord as pain. Jerk your hand away from the hot burner and it’s motor nerves that tell the muscles to contract to move your hand to end the pain.
At the branching ends of sensory neurons is where you will find nocicepters, the receptors that respond to stimulus that triggers pain.
Kinds of Pain
There are many kinds of pain
- Acute Pain – Typically of sudden onset and normally lasting for short periods, it is usually localized to a site of injury or trauma.
- Chronic Pain – Persists or recurs for indefinite periods, usually longer than three months and has an obscure onset. Chronic pain is usually diffuse and poorly localized making diagnosis of the underlying cause and treatment more difficult.
Pain can further be classified into
- Nociceptive Pain is related to injury, inflammation or disease involving muscle and bone. Typically it is described as “sharp”, “aching”, “sore” or “knot-like” when it involves muscle and “achy” and “uncomfortable” like a “rusty hinge” when associated with bone.
- Neuropathic Pain results from injury to a nerve. Sensations are often described as “electric-like”, “burning” and “knife-like”.
- Referred Pain occurs in one area of the body but the source exists in another area of the body. An example of referred pain occurs when a herniated disc in the low back causes pain in a leg or ankle.
- Visceral Pain occurs in internal organs from maladies such as kidney stones or an inflamed gallbladder.
- Intractable Pain is pain that resists treatment.
When you come to ISM seeking treatment for pain, your pain doctor or other provider will begin to determine the kind of pain you have by asking you questions including:
- When did your pain start?
- How did the pain start? Was it sudden, gradual, an injury, etc.? What does the pain feel like? Is it constant, burning, aching, sharp, dull, electric-like, shooting, or nagging?
- What makes your pain feel better? Ibuprofen? Heat? Ice? Standing up?
- What makes your pain worse? Lifting your arm? Putting pressure on an effected leg? Lying down? Stand up? Walking?
- Do you have bowel or bladder control problems, numbness, tingling, weakness, swelling, etc.?
Concise answers to the above questions can help your pain doctor diagnose and treat your pain.