The experience of pain affects every aspect of a person’s life including the person’s mental, physical and emotional state. Those who experience it for a prolonged period are incapacitated, unable to lead a normal life and deal with the requirements of everyday reality. Prolonged and persistent pain, needless to say, can cause unbearable anguish and depression.
Kinds of pain
It comes in many forms, and can be classified as chronic, acute or breakthrough. Chronic is the kind of pain that persists for a month or more, or one that persists beyond the normal recovery time of a particular illness. Pain that persists for months or even years as a result of a chronic condition is also classified as chronic, and may vary in intensity; low intensity chronic pain can also be debilitating. Acute pain is a short-lived one that results from injury or an acute illness. Breakthrough pain is a flash that can vary in intensity, from moderate to severe, typically transitory and occurring in the background of an otherwise controlled pain.
Conscious experience of it
Pain is felt through the nervous system. Primarily, it is a strategy of our biological instinct to make us avoid experiences and situations which may cause us harm. However, there are times when the sensation of pain prolongs unnecessarily, when the information of it is no longer useful but is still felt. In some illnesses and injuries, the brain receives information about the pain and the person feeling the pain can do very little to avoid the stimuli. Also, it may not be just a simple stimulation. The conscious experience of pain can involve other factors such as emotion, memory, and physical condition. Some of it may not even have an organic-related cause such as a disease or injury.
It has been described as a construct that involves pain remembered in the past, experienced in the present, and anticipated in the future. This is the reason why chronic pain can be so debilitating, no matter what intensity. The experience is heightened with the thought and anticipation that feeling will be there tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on. Learning to relax and letting go of the fear and anticipation can do a lot to change the experience for the better.
Techniques for alleviating it
For patients who have chronic pain, getting addicted to narcotic painkillers is the last resort. Natural remedies to help alleviate it are preferred. One of the best ways is to learn how to relax. While this may sound easy, it takes a lot of practice to consciously relax. The best way to go about this is with meditation and breathing exercises. The idea is to focus on the breathing or an object and chant a word such as “Om” until one gets into a trance. Another meditative approach is called osteomyelitis. The goal is to focus all the attention on the pain in a relaxed way as possible. Don’t think about negative thoughts about the pain (such as cursing to yourself or pitying yourself or getting angry). Make the pain a focus of your meditation, observed dispassionately for what it is.
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