Types of Pain
Because perception and tolerance of pain vary widely from individual to individual, pain is difficult to define and describe. Essentially, pain is the way your brain interprets information about a particular sensation that your body is experiencing. Information (or "signals") about this painful sensation are sent via nerve pathways to your brain. The way in which your brain interprets these signals as "pain" can be affected by many outside factors, some of which can be controlled by special techniques.
Acute pain is defined as pain that lasts less than three months. In most cases, it is “necessary” pain – a protective response, a warning from the body that a destructive process is occurring. The treatment of acute pain usually lasts two to four days, and is intended to minimize discomfort. Specialized techniques, such as indwelling epidurals or interscalene blocks, are often used for post operative pain control in the hospital setting. These techniques minimize the use of narcotics and help people get out of bed sooner. Often, this minimizes the number of days spent in the hospital.
Chronic pain is generally defined as pain that lasts longer than three months. It usually serves no useful purpose. In fact, chronic pain can actually be harmful in itself. It can weaken the body, thus slowing healing and recovery. It can adversely affect heart rate, blood pressure, appetite, the gastrointestinal system, and total body metabolism. Chronic pain can permeate a person’s entire life, affecting them physically, mentally and socially. It can prevent them from functioning at work, at home, and in society. When acute pain becomes chronic pain, proper pain management is necessary in order to promote recovery and a better quality of life.
The Elkhart General Hospital Center for Pain Management has a range of treatment options to help restore normal living. Interventions may include medications, injections, surgical implants, physical therapy, and the teaching of coping skills.
Cancer pain is the most physiologically challenging because of the many factors that may be present. Treatments may change from day to day and may include narcotic therapy, adjunctive medications, nerve blocks, and possibly implantable devices for delivery of epidural or spinal narcotics. Our goal is to maximize pain relief while trying to keep the patient on as much of a home-based program as possible.
We offer treatment for the following conditions:
- Back pain (including sciatica, herniated disc, facet problems, radicular leg pain or pain of the post-operative back)
- Cancer pain
- Severe arthritis
- Nerve injuries
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
- Unexplained abdominal and pelvic pain
- Unusual pain syndromes of the chest
- Acute herpes zoster (shingles)
- Post herpetic neuralgias
- Myofascial (muscle-related pain)
- Post-operative neuralgia
- Facial pain
- Phantom limb pain (post amputation pain)
- Post spinal cord injury pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Neck and arm pain
For More Information
For more information, call 574-523-3232.