Pain conditions: Causes, symptoms, and treatment
Pain is an essential warning signal the body gives. It is sent out to tell the brain that something is wrong. People in today's world are especially afflicted with musculoskeletal system pain. Back pain is in the foreground, but headaches, toothaches, menstrual cramps, and rheumatic pain are not uncommon.
Pain can be caused by different reasons. For example, the vertebral discs may be responsible for back pain, but muscle tension in the back is also commonly observed. Stress, insufficient fluid intake, or sudden weather changes may cause a headache. Often, pain is an accompanying symptom of an underlying disease, such as rheumatism.
It is a common problem that many patients live with pain for a long time and do not treat it at all or not properly. However, it is important to treat pain, because the body has a so-called pain memory, which means that if left untreated pain can intensify and in the worst case become chronic. With back pain there is also the danger that patients compensate their posture because they are afraid of pain. This, in turn, can cause more tension in the back and hence more back pain, leading to a vicious cycle of pain – compensation – more pain.
How to recognise pain
Pain can develop gradually (for example, when muscle tension increases) or suddenly (for example, with a damaged tooth). The intensity and duration of pain can differ individually as well, which may also depend on the type of pain. For example, one person may describe a headache as a dull ache or pressure, and the other as pounding pain. While one person can tolerate pain without treatment, the other needs to take action as soon as possible. Accordingly, there is no clear answer to the question regarding when pain should be treated. Rather, it depends on the experience each individual person has.
How pain is treated
Correct movements or physiotherapy is often all that is needed to relieve back pain, for example. Drinking sufficient amounts of fluids and resting can stop a headache, and a visit to the dentist's office can be the solution for a tooth ache. Treatment with non-prescription pain-killers can also help. It is important to closely adhere to the instructions in the package insert. In case of doubt ask the pharmacist or doctor. For example, paracetamol or peppermint oil are effective and tolerated well. Opioids can be used for particularly intense pain.
You can order a free German pain diary to document the medicines you have taken and how you are feeling each day here.