Acute and Chronic Pain

Definition of pain

Taber’s Medical Dictionary defines pain as “the  sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.  Thus pain includes both the perception of an uncomfortable stimulus, and the response to that perception….Experiencing pain is influenced by a great number of interactions and can be caused by physical, mental, biochemical, physiological, psychological, social, cultural, and emotional factors.”

It is necessary to distinguish between the two basic types of pain, acute and chronic.

  • Acute pain warns us that something is wrong.  It is telling us to stop, change what we are doing, or that we have just been injured. It results from disease, inflammation, or injury to tissues. The causes of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated.  The pain is usually confined to a given period of time and severity.  This type of pain generally comes on suddenly, for example, after trauma, injury, or surgery.   The pain may also be accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress.  Acute pain can become chronic.
  • Chronic pain is persistent pain over a long period of time and is resistant to most standard medical treatments.  Chronic pain is often caused by a debilitating disease, postural deviation, nerve compression  or entrapment, musculoskeletal spasm, or injury. Chronic pain can often be made worse by environmental and psychological factors.   Chronic pain can, and often does, rob people of their productivity and their sense of well-being.

Causes of Pain

  • Arthritis
  • Abrasions
  • Back pain
  • Bone misalignment
  • Bruises
  • Car accident injury
  • Cancer pain
  • Emotional abuse
  • Headaches
    • Migraines
    • Cluster headaches
    • Tension headaches
  • Head and facial pain
  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Myofascial pain syndromes
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Phantom limbs
  • Postural misalignment
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Sciatica
  • Shingles
  • Sports injuries
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Surgical pain
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders
  • Trauma
  • Vascular disease or injury

History of pain treatments

Ancient civilizations wrote accounts of pain on stone tablets.  Their recorded treatments included: pressure (massage), heat (hot stones), water (hydrotherapy), and sun. Early humans related pain to evil, magic, and demons. They went to sorcerers, shamans, priests, and priestesses, who used herbs, rites, and ceremonies as their treatments of pain.

The Greeks and Romans were the first to theorize that the brain and nervous system have a role in producing the perception of pain.  Evidence began to accumulate in support of these theories in the Middle Ages and Renaissance period (1400’s and 1500’s).

In 1664, the French philosopher René Descartes described what to this day is still called the “pain pathway.” Descartes described how the heat from a fire near ones foot, traveled to the brain and he compared the “pain sensation” to the ringing of a bell. (One might say “I think therefore I feel pain”.)

In the 19th century, physicians and scientists discovered that opium, morphine, codeine, and cocaine could be used to treat pain.  In 1931, the French medical missionary Dr. Albert Schweitzer wrote, “Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.” Pharmacists then developed aspirin, the most commonly used pain reliever today.

Today, pain is a serious and costly public health issue.  It challenges family, friends, and health care providers who must give support to the individual suffering from the physical, mental and emotional consequences of pain.  Pain is the number one reason people go to doctors and pain medications one of the top ten prescription given.

I do not give out pain medications.  I work with alternatives to pain medications.

Treatment options

  • Massage
  • Other forms of Bodywork
  • Microcurrent
  • Naturopathic manipulation
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Homeopathic drainage (Unda)
  • Phyto-gen therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Psychological and educational counseling
  • Referrals for X-rays
Contact Rosetta Koach, LMT, ND  at 503-628-6357
for treatment of acute and chronic pain