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Chronic Pain Management

Pain is an indication of tissue injury or a problem in your body. Despite it being a natural response, extreme pain can have a negative impact on you socially, economically and emotionally. It can interfere with sleep, nutrition, mobility and emotional wellbeing. While the perception of pain varies from person to person, it may be acute or chronic. Acute pain is usually relieved by treating the cause, while chronic pain is more complex, and requires thorough assessment and multidisciplinary approach to management.

Muscle pain and spasms occur from spontaneous muscle contractions. They often occur from overused or damaged muscles (torn or strained). Spasm pain is localized, often intense and comes on suddenly, lasting for a few minutes before it fades away. Some of the common causes of muscle pain and spasms include:

  • Prolonged exercise or regular overuse of the muscles
  • Dehydration and salt depletion
  • Metabolic disorders that interfere with the supply of energy to the muscles
  • Narrowing of the arteries
  • Illnesses like diabetes and anemia

Muscle pain and spasms can be diagnosed by performing a thorough medical history along with a neurological and physical examination. Your doctor may also conduct an electromyography, a test to record the electrical activity of the affected muscle during rest and movement. Treatment involves pain relieving medication, treating dehydration by replacing fluids and electrolytes, and treating the underlying neurologic or metabolic diseases.

Home health care focuses on assessing and managing pain.

Pain Assessment

In order to determine the nature of your pain, a careful assessment is made of the history, location, intensity and quality of your pain, and its effect on your behavior. You are asked to grade your pain on a pain scale of 1 to 10, and identify what aggravates or relieves it. A complete physical examination is performed, specifically on the area of pain. Apart from these, various tools exist to evaluate pain in patients with cognitive impairment or limited communication ability.

Pain Management

Management of chronic pain involves trying to minimize pain while maximizing function. It includes the use of:

  • Medication: Given to treat pain, spasm, anxiety, depression, and to promote sleep and appetite
  • Physical interventions: Application of heat and cold, position changes and massage, physical therapy, exercise, pain control devices (TENS unit) and assistive devices to improve mobility

Behavioral interventions: Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga to relive anxiety, and muscle tension and distraction techniques to improve pain tolerance