Pain can be complex. While things like body and muscle aches are often fairly simple to treat, there are many other pain conditions out there that can be confusing even to some of the most qualified physicians.
To understand pain, you should first know about the different types of pain that can occur. Pain can be acute or chronic. Acute, meaning the pain often comes on suddenly and only lasts for a short period of time; and Chronic, meaning the pain is long-lasting. As many as 2 million Canadians (and 1 in 5 British Columbians) say they suffer from chronic pain, making it a leading cause of disability today. Various parts of the body can be affected by pain; soft tissue and nerves, for example. It’s also not uncommon to experience something known as breakthrough pain, which happens when you develop pain in-between your scheduled painkillers, as well as referred pain, which occurs when the pain extends into other parts of your body.
As mentioned, pain can be a very complicated condition; not just to diagnose, but to treat and manage. When it comes to pain — especially if it’s chronic — there is no magic cure or quick fix, and this can become very frustrating to the patient and even result in a decline in their mental health, leading to things like stress, anxiety, and depression.
As a family physician it is not only Dr. Ali Ghahary’s goal to educate patients and their families on chronic pain, but to also come up with the best treatment plan possible in order to give patients the best quality of life imaginable.
For mild to moderate pain, over-the-counter medications, such as Acetaminophen, are often recommended. If your pain is the result of inflammation then anti-inflammatory medication, such as Ibuprofen, is the better choice. When it comes to managing pain of any type, it is important to know that prolonged use of pain medication can actually result in the worsening of — or rebound pain, which is why it’s so crucial to find alternatives.
To start, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends less invasive methods of treatment such as relaxation techniques (medication, yoga) as well as cognitive behavioural therapy. While these methods may not necessarily rid you of the pain you’re experiencing, they can help you create better coping skills. Medications used to treat convulsions and mental health disorders are also commonly used to treat pain, particularly if it’s suspected that the pain may be nerve-related (i.e. migraines, neuralgia, etc.) It is important to note that if you are prescribed this kind of medication that you can develop some side effects; nausea and fatigue, commonly. It also often takes a few weeks before you begin to notice whether or not the medication is working, so don’t feel discouraged and give up if you don’t have immediate pain relief.
Pain BC offers a wide range of resources for those who suffer from pain, as well as information for healthcare providers. Visit their website at painbc.ca.
Originally published at alighahary.ca on December 1, 2017.