Did you know that pain is different? The first type of pain is called acute, has a strictly defined focus and passes relatively quickly. The second kind of pain is chronic, the source of which is often difficult to determine, andduration is very long. They are very similar in nature, but have completely different origins. Chronic pain is considered especially painful, which, due to its duration, even begins to affect a person's behavior. In particular, people who are constantly in pain become depressed and even aggressive towards others. In this article, I propose to briefly understand the nature of chronic pain: we will find out exactly how it differs from acute pain, why it is so difficult to treat and how common it is. We will also learn how chronic pain changes the human character - scientists recently found this out during the experiment.
- 1 What is chronic pain?
- 2 Treatment of chronic pain
- 3 Effects of chronic pain on character
- 4 Effects of Chronic Pain on the Brain
What is chronic pain?
First, let's figure out how acute pain is differentfrom chronic. Acute pain is a protective reaction of the body that warns us of danger. For example, when a person touches a hot kettle, he immediately withdraws his hand so that a severe burn does not occur. And when a person has a toothache, the body warns him of the need to cure it. There is nothing useful in chronic pain, because even a small injury can provoke it, which then causes changes in the central nervous system. So she does not have a strictly defined focus, so she is very difficult to treat.
In the most severe cases, chronic painaccompanies diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, and so on. And so, this is a very common occurrence - according to the book "A Nation in pain", in the United States, 30-40% of the population suffers from chronic pain. The saddest thing is that if a patient complains of chronic pain in the back, head, and so on, doctors begin to treat it as acute. But since their origin is different, the prescribed treatment is ineffective.
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Treatment of chronic pain
It should be noted right away that if you experience any pain, you should see a doctor. Treatment depends on the situation and the specialist.Needless to say, many patients want a miracle pill that will quickly get rid of problems. Only in this way it is impossible to completely recover - over time, the pain will return back. Sometimes doctors advise "too simple" treatments. For example, if a person's chronic back pain is related to their sedentary lifestyle, they may be advised to walk more often after a long office job. But people often consider such specialists incompetent and look for another doctor. But walking can really solve the problem, and at the root, and not mask it under the influence of pills.
The effect of chronic pain on character
In patients with chronic pain, almostmental problems always develop. Often depression becomes a companion of this problem - it occurs in 80% of people. If a person is haunted by pain for a long time, his body seems to cease to belong to him, and this has a very bad effect on the quality of life. Psychologist Robert Getchell once identified three stages in a person's character change under the influence of chronic pain:
- at the first stage a person reacts to prolonged pain as a threat to life. As a result, fear, anxiety and anxiety arise;
- second stage begins if the pain does not stopa few months. A person begins to experience severe stress, which subsequently leads to the development of depression. He is afraid of becoming helpless, which is why he often shows irritability;
- in the third stage a person already suffering from depression beginsperceive themselves as disabled and even stop contact with many people. At the same time, his pain threshold decreases and he begins to feel pain more strongly.
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The effect of chronic pain on the brain
As you might have guessed by now, chronic pain cangreatly affect a person's character. Recently, Australian scientists decided to find out exactly what all the changes are connected with. They conducted an experiment involving two groups of people: the first included 24 volunteers with chronic pain, and the second - healthy people. Scientists measured their levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is located in the prefrontal cortex of the brain and is responsible for signal transmission. The results of the research work were published in the scientific journal European Journal of Pain.
Scientists have found that people with chronicPain is associated with low levels of GABA. According to the author of scientific work Sylvia Gustin (Sylvia Gustin), this means that the brain cells of such people cannot transmit signals normally. Because of this, somehow, the person becomes irritable. Also, scientists noticed a lower level of glutamic acid in the first group of people, which may be the cause of increased feelings of fear and anxiety. According to the researchers, all these changes are due to anxiety, which is observed in the first stage of the psychological consequences of chronic pain.
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There is another one on the topic of pain on our website.great article. It talks about the most severe pain that a person can experience. The material also has additional information on chronic pain - here is the link.