How is pain defined? First attested in English in 1297, the word peyn comes from the Old French peine, in turn from Latin poena meaning “punishment, penalty; and from Greek ποινή (poine), generally meaning “price paid, penalty, punishment.
Pain can be described as a distressing feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. The International Association for the Study of Pain’s widely used definition defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”; however, due to it being a complex, subjective phenomenon, defining pain has been a challenge. In medical diagnosis, pain is regarded as a symptom of an underlying condition.
Pain motivates the individual to withdraw from damaging situations, to protect a damaged body part while it heals, and to avoid similar experiences in the future. Most pain resolves once the noxious stimulus is removed and the body has healed, but it may persist despite removal of the stimulus and apparent healing of the body. Sometimes pain arises in the absence of any detectable stimulus, damage or disease.
Pain is the most common reason for physician consultation in most developed countries. It is a major symptom in many medical conditions, and can interfere with a person’s quality of life and general functioning. Psychological factors such as social support, hypnotic suggestion, excitement, or distraction can significantly affect pain’s intensity or unpleasantness.
Pain is usually transitory, lasting only until the noxious stimulus is removed or the underlying damage or pathology has healed, but some painful conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, cancer and idiopathic pain, may persist for years. Pain that lasts a long time is called chronic or persistent, and pain that resolves quickly is called acute. Traditionally, the distinction between acute and chronic pain has relied upon an arbitrary interval of time between onset and resolution; the two most commonly used markers being 3 months and 6 months since the onset of pain, though some theorists and researchers have placed the transition from acute to chronic pain at 12 months. Others apply acute to pain that lasts less than 30 days, chronic to pain of more than six months’ duration, and subacute to pain that lasts from one to six months. A popular alternative definition of chronic pain, involving no arbitrarily fixed durations, is “pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing”.
Inadequate treatment of pain is widespread throughout surgical wards, intensive care units, and accident and emergency departments, in general practice, in the management of all forms of chronic pain including cancer pain, and in end of life care. This neglect extends to all ages, from newborns to medically frail elderly. African and Hispanic Americans are more likely than others to suffer unnecessarily while in the care of a physician; and women’s pain is more likely to be undertreated than men’s.
The International Association for the Study of Pain advocates that the relief of pain should be recognized as a human right, that chronic pain should be considered a disease in its own right, and that pain medicine should have the full status of a medical specialty. It is a specialty only in China and Australia at this time. Elsewhere, pain medicine is a subspecialty under disciplines such as anesthesiology, physiatry, neurology, palliative medicine and psychiatry.
In his practice, Dr. Gibb uses the sensation of pain as an evoked response with regard to treatment. That is, pain always tells a story. It is the story of your particular condition, its manifestation and progression. In this way he knows whether you are progressing or regressing with regard to treatment. It serves to measure the efficacy of a treatment modality and is the first sign that you are getting better (when pain is reduced) or worse (when pain sensation increases over time).
Our focus is on reducing and hopefully eliminating your pain. Dr. Gibb will diagnose the cause of your pain, acute or chronic, and help in its alleviation through direct therapeutic modality, such as spinal manipulation, and by enlisting you to learn and understand the reason for your pain and how you can play a large part in its reduction. There are many factors that have a direct effect on painful sensations, such as diet, daily activities and environmental stimuli. Many of these factors can be directly addressed by those who suffer from long lasting pain, providing additional support to the treatment being provided.
It is our experience that those who become fully engaged in their own healthcare experience the fastest and most long-lasting relief from chronic or acute pain. Dr. Gibb will treat you directly, but also will enlist you to become a partner in your treatment by watching what you eat, exercising properly, and avoiding those things that stimulate and prolong pain.
Let’s go ahead and do something positive about the pain you experience. Call us, email us, or send our form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gibb. The sooner you get in to see him the faster he will be able to help you to experience true pain relief.