What are aches and pains?
Aches and Pains
This fast-paced life has its perils. One of the most prominent drawbacks of such a lifestyle is the deterioration of one’s health.
Pain is simply a sensation that hurts. Millions are affected by various pains and aches spread throughout the body, with a whopping 31 million Americans suffering from random lower back pain. Body pain can not only confine you to your bed but also hamper your ability to function normally. Different factors affect the intensity of pain and how much it impacts your daily life. A broad classification is made based on the intensity and duration of the body pain. The types of pains include:
- Acute pain: Essentially, this category of pain is directly related to tissue damage such as a knife cut or a sprained wrist. It also lasts 3 to 6 months and is directly classified as chronic pain once it crosses the 6-month mark.
- Chronic pain: Aches and pains that last longer than 6 months are classified as chronic pains. Unlike acute pains, chronic pain may not just be related to tissue damage – the source of pain may be the body, the brain, or the spinal cord. Pain-inducing illnesses such as long-term respiratory illnesses or heart diseases also fall under the category of chronic pain.
In order to successfully counter pain, one has to know what its sources and causes are. Sometimes, the causes of pain are as simple as an unhealthy sleeping position or a minor infection. That said, sometimes pain is written off as nothing serious, which can have grave underlying reasons such as a type of cancer or coronary heart disease. Therefore, a look at why your body hurts is important.
Why does my body ache?
People with pain need to ask themselves four very important questions in order to seek effective aches and pains treatment:
- Why does my body ache? Is there a source that can easily be pointed out like a paper cut?
- What is my understanding and reasoning of the pain?
- How long have I been feeling this pain for?
- What is the intensity of the pain?
Pain can either be nociceptive or non-nociceptive, that is, the source of pain may be either the stimulation of pain receptors or the internal organs.
Reasons for body ache
- Sometimes, the reason for body pain can be identified very easily such as a paper cut or a sprained ankle. This type of pain usually has an identifiable cause and origin and, therefore, can be treated easily. The reason can simply be minor skin, tissue or layer damage.
- Pain can originate from the internal organs such as the spinal cord or kidney. More often than not, the reason for chronic pain mentioned above cannot be easily identifiable. In order to determine the source and reason for the pain, an array of tests such as blood tests, X-rays, and MRIs have to be carried out. The reason may be either as alarming as kidney stones or blocked arteries or as manageable as pinched nerves.
- Psychological reasons may also result in pain. Sometimes, the reason for pain may be psychological such as severe depression or mental illnesses that cause actual physical pain-like sensations in the body. This type of pain, though written off as unimportant in most societies that stigmatize psychological illnesses, is real and may have grave consequences. This type of pain may hamper a person’s ability to function normally and survive and, hence, should be taken seriously.
- Usually, minor deficiencies such as a vitamin C deficiency or a calcium deficiency can be the underlying cause of body pain. An extreme calcium deficiency in the bones may even lead to osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.
A guide to seeking aches and pains treatment
Once the type and reason for the pain have been determined, it is fairly easy to choose a treatment option. Gaining more popularity day by day, there are thousands of people who opt for alternative medicine to treat and manage pains and aches.
Traditional medicine uses drugs and targets the source of the pain to successfully treat it. Traditional medicine also vastly employs the use of surgeries to correct minor/major defects such as inguinal hernia surgeries or stent implanting in arteries to restore blood flow in blocked arteries. Usually reliant on the use of medical drugs, this option, though vital, has its side effects.
Alternate medicine looks into alternate ways of healing and managing pain. Some of the most common alternative medicine practices are:
- Natural therapy such as lifestyle changes can aid in healing not only on its own but also in combination with traditional treatments. For example, sleeping early, eating healthy, and quitting smoking can help a person recover from a heart bypass.
- Chiropractic is usually used to treat back pains or sprains. The consistent and long-term chiropractic treatments are chosen by many as a source of managing chronic back aches.
- Islamic cupping has been used for centuries to treat ailments. It relies on targeting specific areas of the body believed to be the source of illness and using cups and tiny cuts to suck out the blood believed to be dirty.
- Some believe that some natural plants and herbs can successfully cure and manage pains and aches more effectively as compared to mainstream drugs. This option is preferred by many due to the lack of side effects.
- Other remedies such as aromatherapy, yoga, hypnosis, and acupuncture are also used by many.
While alternative medicine and pain management techniques have gained popularity over the years, there have been no proven results. They are used to manage and isolate pain but can be life-threatening when used to treat grave illnesses without proper knowledge. It is for this reason that it is only recommended to employ and go down alternate routes such as acupuncture and chiropractic treatments when the pain is acute and not related to any life-threatening illnesses.
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