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The human body is a remarkable thing. It can fight off all manner of illness, disease, and infection, it can regenerate damaged cells, and it has an astonishing capacity to heal itself, but no matter how well we look after it, we cannot avoid everyday injuries such as fractures, sprains and strains.
Everyday injuries are incredibly common and they are caused by a number of different factors. You could have a fall at work, you could burn yourself while cooking at home, you could sprain your ankle while out running, you could fracture a limb by falling off your bike, or you could strain your back while lifting a heavy box. We expose our bodies to the risk of injury every day, and they can happen anywhere at any time.
Common Injuries: NHS Facts & Figures
Data recently released by the NHS shows that over 22.4 million people visited A&E Departments across the country in 2014/15, averaging at an astounding 61,438 visits per day. Common injuries accounted for a large amount of these visits, with 4.6% attending for a dislocation, fracture or joint injury, 3.7% for a sprain or ligament injury, 2.4% for a head injury, 1.9% for sports injuries, and 2.6% for contusions and abrasions.
Treatments for the aforementioned injuries ranged from splints and bandage support to sutures and medication, but of course, everyone experiences pain differently, and what might work for one patient may not work for another. Only medical professionals can determine the right treatment and pain management plan for each patient, which is why everyday injuries place a huge burden on the health service.
Treating Everyday Injuries
Treating everyday injuries depends on the type of injury, the severity of the symptoms, the age of the patient, and many other factors such as general health and prescribed medications. It might be that rest and simple over-the-counter painkillers could be all one needs to get back on their feet, but if the injury is severe, an intensive pain management plan that treats both the pain and the mental and emotional factors that many patients experience, may be required.
If prescription strong painkillers such as Paracetamol and Aspirin are not effective in reducing the pain caused by injury, your doctor may prescribe a strong opioid-based painkiller such as Codeine, Dihydrocodeine, or Tramadol. While highly effective at reducing pain such as post-operative pain, chronic backache, and fractures, opioid medications can be addictive, and so they should only be taken for a short period, and under medical supervision.
Non Medicinal Remedies for Common Injuries
If you prefer not to take strong painkillers, you could treat the symptoms of your injury with a variety of complementary therapies such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, meditation and yoga. Commonly recommended by health professionals for the treatment of chronic pain caused by injury, these non-invasive therapies can improve core strength, flexibility and mobility, while soothing anxiety and alleviating depression.
Preventing Everyday Injuries
While it is impossible to prevent common injuries altogether, there are things one can do to reduce the risk. Warming up before exercise, bending correctly when lifting, wearing safety helmets/equipment wherever necessary, and listening to your body are all important factors when it comes to avoiding injury. Prevention, as they say, it better than cure…
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There is nothing quite as disabling as pain. Whether acute or chronic, when pain reaches a certain level, sufferers might find themselves wanting to spend the entire day in bed. Pain can cause negative effects on productivity and canreduce a person’s quality of life. Today, nearly 100 million Americans report feeling some sort of recurring or chronic pain due to unknown causes. Two-thirds of these people claim that their pain has caused significant negative effects on their overall happiness.
Pain is experienced differently by different people, so it can be assumed that treatment and management won’t be the same throughout all cases. There are some things you should know before you dive into a pain treatment agreement. By taking note of these must-know bits of information, you can find the right management and services for your specific needs.
More about Pain Management
The main goal of pain management is to resolve the underlying cause of pain. If in case a cause can’t be pinpointed, then the objective shifts from eliminating the cause to managing the symptoms. The majority of people believe that pain is purely a physical experience, but the truth is that it actually involves both the mind and the emotions as well. That said, it is ideal to ensure that a pain management treatment program doesn’t only focus on the physical manifestation of pain, but also on the potential mental and emotional factors that could be exacerbating the situation.
Common Treatment for Pain
- Medication – Probably the most common among all pain treatment methods would be medication. Depending on the nature, causes, and type of pain, doctors can prescribe a different number or combination of pain management medications. As a patient, it’s never advisable to self-medicate. Making decisions based on rudimentary knowledge and internet research can cause a great deal of complications and problems in the long run. Make sure you consult your doctor for your medication and alternative treatment that might be applicable to your condition. Many prescription painkillers contain codeine, an opioid medication that can cause addiction. All painkillers have the risk of abuse, so it is vitally important that you only take them under professional guidance. If you choose to buy painkillers online you must be certain that you are dealing with a licensed pharmacy and doctors.
- Therapy – Physical and Occupational Therapy services can significantly reduce pain. Depending on your condition, your doctor might recommend that you seek the expertise of physical and occupational therapists. These professionals are trained in the field of alleviating pain and could help you discover alternative methods to reduce the pain you feel on a daily basis. Physical therapists work by focusing on body parts, putting the involved parts of your body through exercises and activities that could help relieve pain. Occupational therapists on the other hand can help identify pain-causing activities that you perform on a daily basis. They can then suggest other methods you can practice in order to minimize the likelihood of making pain worse and increase your ability to participate in day-to-day tasks.
- Other Alternatives – Because pain can also be the symptom of mental or emotional distress, it’s ideal to seek out alternative management options to target these potential causes. Activities like relaxation techniques and meditation could help address non-physical causes of stress. You can also opt for alternatives like massage, heat and cold therapy, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) management to relieve the pain you feel. But as with any other management you intend to undertake, it is vital that you first seek the approval and consent of your doctor or physician. This way you can be sure that you’re not getting yourself into a potentially harmful situation that might make your condition worse.
Everyone goes through pain, but with the right knowledge and mind-set you can resolve your pain problems and return to your normal level of functioning.
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On the hunt for new ways to treat pain.
Where do the drugs we take every day come from? What journey do they take from the minds of scientists working in the pharmaceutical industry to the shelves in a dispensary?
The Pain Detective follows Colin Froy, a retired policeman living with cancer, chronic pain and a wry sense of humour, as he becomes our eyes and ears. Immersing himself in the world of pharmaceuticals, Colin traces a drug’s journey back from clinical trials to its beginnings as a concept in the minds of scientists.
Thrown into this alien landscape of modern science, Colin’s questions and humour allow us to experience science in an entirely unexpected light. Through him, we glimpse the personalities and the passion of the people behind the experiments and the harsh realities of trying to bring a new drug to market in the 21st century.
Ultimately, he helps us to capture a glimpse of the long, difficult journey it takes for every pill or medicine to make it to our pharmacy shelves. To clarify why pain, in particular, is such a difficult phenomenon to treat. To gain an insight into the machinations of how modern pharmaceutical companies operate and work together. To make the process of science that little bit more transparent and human to those who will never enter a lab.
Pain is.. a pain. Too much of it, and it can really make life hard. But imagine none of it. That can be bad too, as you’d never know if you’re hurt. That’s the reality for a select few who carry a rare genetic mutation. Trace explains how our body’s pain system works, and how these people could help those suffering from chronic pain in the future.
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Anyone who has suffered through sleepless nights due to uncontrollable itching knows that not all itching is the same. New research
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF ITCH
In genetically engineered mice that are prone to chronic itching, researchers identified elevated signaling (shown in red) in nerve cells involved in both itch and in pain.
at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis explains why.
Working in mice, the scientists have shown that chronic itching, which can occur in many medical conditions, from eczema and psoriasis to kidney failure and liver disease, is different from the fleeting urge to scratch a mosquito bite.
That’s because chronic itching appears to incorporate more than just the nerve cells, or neurons, that normally transmit itch signals. The researchers found that in chronic itching, neurons that send itch signals also co-opt pain neurons to intensify the itch sensation.
The new discovery may lead to more effective treatments for chronic itching that target activity in neurons involved in both pain and itch. The research is reported online Oct. 15 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation and will appear in the November print issue.
“In normal itching, there’s a fixed pathway that transmits the itch signal,” said senior investigator Zhou-Feng Chen, PhD, who directs Washington University’s Center for the Study of Itch. “But with chronic itching, many neurons can be turned into itch neurons, including those that typically transmit pain signals. That helps explain why chronic itching can be so excruciating.”
Chen, a professor of anesthesiology, and his colleagues generated mice in which a protein called BRAF always is active and continually sends signals inside itch neurons. The BRAF gene and the protein it makes are involved in the body’s pain response, but scientists didn’t know whether the gene also played a role in itch.
“We thought the animals might be prone to feeling pain rather than itching,” Chen explained. “To our great surprise, the mice scratched spontaneously. At first, we didn’t know why they were scratching, but it turns out we developed a mouse model of chronic itch.”
Further studies discovered that the BRAF protein could turn on many itch genes, and they showed similar changes of gene expression in mice with chronic itch induced by dry skin and in mice with allergic contact dermatitis, two of the skin conditions that frequently cause people to scratch incessantly.
The findings suggest that targeting proteins in the BRAF pathway may open new avenues for treating chronic itch, a condition in which few therapies are effective. One possibility includes using drugs that are prescribed to treat pain.
“Certain drugs are used to inhibit some of the same targets in patients with chronic pain, and those medications also may quiet down itch,” Chen said.
In earlier studies, Chen identified gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP), a substance that carries itch signals to a gene called GRPR (gastrin-releasing peptide receptor) in the spinal cord. In the new study, GRP and GRPRactivity was doubled in the genetically altered mice, which could account for some of the increase in the intensity of itching. But other genes that normally are activated by pain also were turned on in the itch pathway, further intensifying the itch sensation.
Surprisingly, however, the mice had a normal response to pain, indicating that the pain and itch pathways are very different.
Unlike scratching a mosquito bite, which usually is only a temporary sensation, chronic itch can persist much longer, according to Chen, also a professor of psychiatry and of developmental biology. His team found that the mice in this study not only scratched spontaneously but also had more severe responses when exposed to substances that normally would induce acute itching.
“In people, chronic itching can last for weeks, months or even years,” Chen said. “These mice are helping us to understand the pathways that can be involved in transmitting itch signals and the many contributors to chronic itching. There are many pathways leading from BRAF, and all of these could be potential targets for anti-itch therapies.”
Funding for this research comes from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) the National Eye Institute (NEI), and a training grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
NIH grant numbers R01 AR056318-01A.
Editors note: Original article can be found here.