Pain is defined as a distressing feeling caused by stimulus that is damaging or very intense, such as when someone stubs their toe, puts alcohol on a wound, or puts their hand in a flame.  While some pain can be quite definitive, some is far more subjective and as such, defining it can be more challenging.  In the process, it can sometimes make it difficult to diagnose exactly what is causing the problem.  However, in most cases, if the source of the pain can be found, it can be treated.

What Are the Consequences of Chronic Pain?

When we experience pain, it can cause us to withdraw from certain situations.  We may stop engaging in some of the daily activities we enjoy.  We may withdraw from family as we are unable to pick up the young ones.

It can also cause other side-effects, such as depression, insomnia, anxiety, etc.  While the pain itself may be avoidable, the associated side-effects may not be, as we essentially become a prisoner of our own chronic pain issues.

What is Psychogenic Pain?

Psychogenic pain, also termed psychalgia, is pain that is either caused, amplified, or extended by such factors as one’s mental, emotional, or behavioral state.  It can be brought on by such things as a broken heart, grief over a lost loved one, social rejection, or other personally devastating events.

Most typically, the physical pain resulting from psychogenic pain is headaches, stomach aches, or back pain. While psychogenic pain can be extremely difficult to diagnose, but most usually subside in time as the underlying cause diminishes.

How is Pain Assessed?

There are a variety of ways that pain, and therefore its source, can be assessed.  The most common assessment is also one of the most basic, which is when a patient is asked to assess their own pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain at all and 10 being the worst pain they could possibly feel.  While this sounds extremely simple, it has also been shown to be quite effective in determining the extent of the pain.

Another assessment that is sometimes used is what is called multidimensional pain inventory.  While this may sound like something out of a sci-fi magazine, it is actually just a questionnaire that is designed to assess the person suffering from chronic pain.  The assessment focuses on the psychosocial state of the individual.

Physiological measurements can be conducted as well.  This can be done with things such as an fMRI scan of the brain.

Once Assessed, How is Pain Managed?

Various methods of pain management are available through today’s technology and resources.  There are various medications, such as anesthetics and analgesics.  When pain is chronic, however, medication alone rarely solves the problem and additional treatments may also be necessary.  Psychological treatment and support has also been shown to be an effective form of pain management.  There are also various sources of alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and herbal treatments.

With so many treatments available today to help cope with chronic pain, there is no reason one should suffer without seeking assistance from their healthcare professional.  So, if you suffer from chronic pain, consult your doctor and see what treatment would be best suited for you.