What is pain?
Let’s dive in. Pain is an important part of how our bodies function. It can let us know that something isn’t quite right.1 In doing so, body pain alerts us to protect ourselves from further harm by prompting us to stop what we’re doing, take stock, and avoid repeated injury or permanent damage to our bodies. Pain is what can keep us from making our situations worse than they need to be.
Pain is controlled by the nervous system and is a very complex process. It occurs when an external stimulus, for example, touching a hot pan, triggers receptor nerve cells to send messages through your spinal cord to your brain. These receptors can sense heat, cold, light, touch, pressure -- and pain! Pain is always subjective. So, each of us experiences pain in our own way. Depending on its severity, as well as your body’s very own unique way of processing it, pain can bring about other physical symptoms, like nausea, dizziness and weakness.
Chronic pain, or pain that lasts for three months or more, differs from acute pain, or the temporary type of pain you may feel from an injury or strain.2 Chronic pain is pain that has outlasted normal healing time.3 Chronic pain often doesn’t serve a purpose in keeping you immobilized in order to prevent further injury. It often is residual pain from an underlying condition such as Osteoarthritis, or a past injury, and is no longer a warning sign.
Although it hurts, some conditions like Osteoarthritis can’t be cured, and therefore treating the pain in order to move through it is necessary to maintain your quality of life. In this situation, it’s not a case of ‘no pain no gain’ – and ignoring pain isn’t necessarily the best course of action.
Being in pain – especially chronic pain – can have quite an emotional impact. Pain can affect how you go about your daily life, keeping you away from activities you once enjoyed. It can also hamper your quality of sleep. Being sleep deprived has ties to poor short- and long-term health markers and decreased mental well-being.4
What are the differences between acute pain and chronic pain?
Acute pain is short-lived and should go away once the injury has healed. Short-term pain treatments will keep you feeling comfortable until your injury heals.
Acute pain typically comes on suddenly and is a sign that your body has suffered some kind of damage. Maybe you strained your back picking up a box, or even just stubbed your toe. Or maybe you just twisted your neck the wrong way while going for a run. (We hate when that happens!)
Chronic pain lasts longer than acute pain and is sometimes resistant to pain treatments.
It is usually associated with a long-term illness. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain tends to be related to dysfunctions or diseases that stay around for a while. If you think you may be experiencing chronic pain, you should consult your doctor to get to the root of what is causing it.
|Acute pain||Chronic pain|
Long-lasting (more than 3 months)
Usually the result of an injury
Usually the result of an underlying condition or long-term illness
Examples of acute pain causes: sprains, stiff neck
Examples of chronic pain causes: Osteoarthritis,
Responds well to pain treatments
Can be resistant to pain treatment
Pain treatments and causes by pain type
Body pain can have myriad causes. Understanding the type and cause of your pain will help you identify the best pain treatment for you.
The types of pain that Iodex’s range of products treat can be split up into a few broad categories:
- Joint pain caused by arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis
- Muscle pain
- Soft tissue pain
- Musculoskeletal pains
Pain can be focused on a specific location on your body. Each of these requires slightly different care and treatment, sometimes merely due to how we tend to move and use our bodies. Here are some of the most common pain locations:
- Back pain - Back pain is a common cause of body pain. Affecting some of the largest muscles in your body, back pain can have a big impact on how you move about your day.
- Neck pain- From a crick to a strain, neck pain can be, well, a pain in the neck! From poor posture to simply turning your head wrong, neck pain can seem like it came out of nowhere.
- Wrist pain - We use our wrists all day long. Complex structures that they are, our wrists are prone to painful problems.
- Shoulder pain - Whether it’s injury or sleeping on it funny, our shoulders are prone to strains and sprains. Shoulder pain can take the flourish out of daily movements.
- Ankle pain - Our ankles get a lot of use day in and day out. That’s why ankle pain is no walk in the park.
- Hip pain - The hip is one of the largest weight-bearing joints in the body, which is why hip pain can be so common.5
- Leg pain – Leg pain can cause partial or total immobility making it painful to carry out everyday activities like walking the dog, climbing upstairs, running for the bus or playing sports.
- Knee pain – Our knees do a lot for us on a daily basis. That’s why knee pain has a way of really stopping us in our tracks.
- Foot and ankle pain – Our feet and ankles are fine-tuned structures full of little bones and muscles, making them susceptible to a range of potential injuries.
- Muscle pain – Whether it’s a pulled muscle from a vigorous go at the gym or we just stood up funny, muscle pain has a way of making its presence known throughout the day.
- Joint pain – Stiff, achy joints are a common cause of pain and can increasingly keep us from doing the things we love.
- Osteoarthritis – Anywhere from our fingers to our toes (or back or neck or knees or hips or…), stiff, achy joints affect many of us as we get older, making movement difficult.
- Common injuries – Some injuries are more common than others (think landing wrong on your foot and twisting your ankle or waking up with a stiff neck. Ouch!).
Pain management is key to living life joyfully and to the fullest. This can include both medicated and non-medicated alternatives, or even a combination of the two. Here are some straightforward pain management techniques that are easy to incorporate into your repertoire:
- Therapeutic massage
- Light exercise
- Mindfulness meditation
- Cold and heat