Recent years have seen great advancements when it comes to pain and pain management. Pain that may have been impossible to alleviate in the past has become a lot more manageable thanks to a greater understanding of the mechanism of pain and the availability of more effective remedies. Nevertheless, there are going to be situations where people still have to experience some degree of pain, especially in the case of illness or injury. Knowing the truth behind a few myths about pain will help you be better informed.
Myths About Pain And Pain Management
As scientists continue to investigate pain and possible remedies for it, they have found that many long-standing beliefs about pain and pain relief are not entirely accurate. Here is a look at some common misconceptions, myths about pain and pain management that persist.
All Patients In Pain Look Like It
Although many people are familiar with what a person can look like when they are in pain, not everyone is going to display outward signs of pain. Factors like a person’s coping mechanisms and biochemistry can impact this quite a bit. For example, people who have low levels of monoamine oxidase, or MAO, can appear upbeat and happy despite being in chronic pain.
Another factor is how well a person can control anxiety; people with good anxiety control can put on a happy face despite their suffering. In addition, some patients may not appear to be in pain when they are distracted, such as while interacting with their family or watching TV. They then become more aware of their pain when the distraction is over.
Needing More Medication Means You’re Developing Tolerance
When a patient finds that their current painkiller dosage is no longer helping, many people assume that it means they are developing a tolerance for it or that it does not work. Although that may be the case sometimes, it is also true that as a disease progresses, it can cause greater amounts of pain and require more medication to alleviate.
Pain Only Happens Where The Injury Is
While it is true that you are likely to experience pain at the site of an injury, it is not unusual to also feel pain internally as well. This is why many doctors pair ibuprofen or acetaminophen with whatever they are doing to treat the main condition. Pain management often requires using a layered approach that focuses on the whole body. This is also why holistic approaches such as yoga and meditation can help despite not being focused on the site of the injury.
Never Use An Opioid First
Opioids are strong medications, and the possibility of becoming addicted is a real one. Although there have been cases of these drugs being prescribed inappropriately, there are situations where they really are the best option.
NSAIDs are generally a more appropriate choice for inflammatory pain, but it is important to keep in mind that when pain is not treated adequately, it has a greater likelihood of becoming chronic. This is something that may be prevented if the right medication is given from the start.
Everyone Who Takes An Opioid Becomes Addicted
Opioids, by their very nature, do build dependence, but not everyone who takes these drugs is going to become addicted. Experts point out that physical dependence and psychological addiction are not the same thing. Even those who have taken opioids for a short period of a couple weeks typically experience some physical symptoms of withdrawal if they stop taking them suddenly.
Addiction, in contrast, occurs when a person continues to use the substance even though it causes them negative effects, such as losing their job.
Pain Is Just A State Of Mind
Although pain may be an invisible problem that other people are unable to see when they look at a patient, that does not make it any less real. Pain is a very complex problem that is still not fully understood despite all the recent advancements, but doctors do know that it involves the mind as well as the body.
For example, back pain typically does not have a known cause, but its effects are real and stressful life events can even make it feel worse.
It is true that some mental approaches can go a long way toward alleviating pain, such as meditation, yoga, art therapy and other distraction techniques, but that does not mean that pain is all in a person’s head.
Hospice Care Debunks Myths About Pain And Pain Management
Hospice care teams are well versed in the ins and outs of pain and pain management. The medications they give to patients are always personalized based on their medical history, illness and severity, and hospice teams are trained in monitoring patients for side effects and determining when doses need to be adjusted. If your loved one is suffering, get in touch with the experts at Harbor Light Hospice.