No pain, no gain! Right?

There are infinite ways to describe pain. In different vocabulary, languages, and within specific cultural norms. In some cultures, pain is not even recognized. People either ignore the concept altogether denying its influence or they have different ways of expressing it such as through non-verbal communication.

If Ignorance is bliss, then Knowledge is pain.

Although it may be difficult, it is important to know how to express pain. Sharp, shooting, dull, aching, throbbing, soreness, tightness, irritating, constant, and intermittent are all good ways of verbally expressing pain, Wincing/contracting, retracting, fist/jaw clenching, and crying are all ways to express pain in a non-verbal manner.

Different types of pain:

  • acute pain starts suddenly and is short-term
  • chronic pain lasts for a longer period of time
  • breakthrough pain often happens in between regular, scheduled painkillers
  • bone pain happens when cancer is affecting a bone
  • soft tissue pain happens when organs, muscles or tissues are damaged or inflamed
  • nerve pain happens when a nerve is damaged
  • referred pain is when pain from one part of your body is felt in another
  • phantom pain is when there is pain in a part of the body that has been removed
  • total pain includes the emotional, social and spiritual factors that affect a person’s pain experience.

Pain does not feel the same for everyone. Describing your pain clearly will help your doctor or nurse find the best treatment for you. Tell your healthcare team where the pain is, what it is like, how bad it is, and when it happens.

Keeping a pain diary can help you explain your pain to your doctor or nurse.

I hear all the time “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” I would prefer it was quoted “Strength is pain leaving the body”. In some cases pain cannot be irradicated and must be managed, but in any case, increased pain is not a positive thing. We should all live by the idiot test:

MD: Does it hurt when you poke it?

Patient: Yes

MD: Then stop poking it.

Moral of the story – If it hurts then stop doing it.

Pain neglect or not treating pain is a common problem in today’s heavily stimulating society. There are many distractions that can keep us from seeking help. If you feel like you need help monitoring and controlling your pain then please see a Physical or Psychological therapist to address the issues that afflict you.

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