Pain Disorders

NO MORE SUFFERING?

When we are experiencing real pain, what can really compare right? All most of us want to do is take something; anything, to make it go away…

Pain Disorders

“I used to disappear for three months at a time because of pain, fatigue and self-consciousness. I used to hide because of my discomfort, and part of that was what felt like anxiety attacks. I’d become overwhelmed, and that could last for hours or days. While in this state, my pain and fatigue could come back in a day or a month and would range in severity.

Every single task in my daily life became robotic. I experienced musculoskeletal pains all over my body. I also experienced paresthesia, edema, tenderness, pulling in my muscles, constant pain in the neck, the head, shoulders, arms, my entire back, chest, abdomen, hips, buttocks, limbs, knees, elbows, feet, joints, ligaments. My symptoms get worse with repetitive activity, physical over-activity or under-activity and also with physical and mental stress, anxiety, cold, heat, high humidity, weather change, hormones… I guess you get the point. I couldn’t work or even take care of my family like I have to…”

When we are experiencing real pain, what can really compare right? All most of us want to do is take something; anything, to make it go away. In fact, pain disorders are classified as a mental disorder because psychological factors play an important role in the onset, severity, worsening, or maintenance of pain.

This is where the neurotransmitter “enkephalins” are so important (you’ll remember I explained this in Chapter Two) as they actually restrict the transmission of pain! Remember? In other words, the pain is there, but you don’t feel it! But if you’re brain isn’t getting the nourishment it needs to feed those neurotransmitters… well you already know that part don’t you?

Pain Disorders include the following conditions:

1) Chronic Pain — Defined as pain that persists longer than the temporal course of natural healing, associated with a particular type of injury or disease process. It is important to note that pain is subjective in nature and is defined by the person experiencing it, and even the medical community’s understanding of chronic pain now includes the impact that the mind has in processing and interpreting pain signals.

2) Fibromyalgia — Classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and tactile allodynia. It is not contagious, and recent studies suggest that people with fibromyalgia may be genetically predisposed. The disorder is not directly life-threatening. The degree of symptoms may vary greatly from day to day with periods of flares (severe worsening of symptoms) or remission; however, the disorder is generally perceived as non-progressive.

3) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — CFS poorly understood, variably debilitating disorder of uncertain cause/causes. For unknown reasons, CFS occurs more often in women and adults in their 40s and 50s. CFS often manifests with widespread myalgia and arthralgia, cognitive difficulties, chronic mental and physical exhaustion, often severe, and other characteristic symptoms in a previously healthy and active person. Often expressed as a severe mental and physical exhaustion which is “unrelieved by rest” and may be worsened by even trivial exertion.

4) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome — Occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. The carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand – houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm.

5) Arthritis — There are different forms of arthritis; each has a different cause. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis; both are autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks itself. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection. Gouty arthritis is caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in the joint, causing inflammation.

6) Migraine Headaches — Usually migraines cause episodes of severe or moderate headaches (which are often one-sided and pulsating) lasting from four to 72 hours. They are often accompanied by gastrointestinal upsets, such as nausea and vomiting, and a heightened sensitivity to bright lights (photophobia) and noise (hyperacusis). Most often, migraines affect people between the ages of 15 and 55. Many people have a family history of migraines. They are more common in women. Migraines often become less severe and frequent with age.

Signs & Symptoms of Pain Disorders:

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Chronic Pain

Pain that does not go away as expected after an illness or injury;
Pain that may be described as shooting, burning, aching, or electrical;
Discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness;

Pain can lead to other problems, such as:

Fatigue, which can cause impatience and a loss of motivation;
Sleeplessness, often because the pain keeps you awake during the night;
Withdrawal from activity and an increased need to rest;
A weakened immune system, leading to frequent infections or illness;
Depression, which is common and can make your pain worse;
Other mood changes, such as hopelessness, fear, irritability, anxiety, and stress;
Disability, which may include not being able to go to work or school or perform other daily activities;

 Fibromyalgia

Chronic, widespread pain and tenderness to light touch;
Moderate to severe fatigue;
Heightened and painful response to gentle touch;
Needle-like tingling of the skin;
Muscle aches;
Prolonged muscle spasms;
Weakness in the limbs;
Nerve pain;

  Functional bowel disturbances;
Chronic sleep disturbances;
Cognitive dysfunction (known as “brain fog” or “fibrofog”);
Impaired concentration problems with short and long-term memory;
Dermatological disorders;
Headaches;
Myoclonic twitches;
Sympatic hypoglycemia;
Varying degrees of facial pain;

The following factors have been proposed to exacerbate symptoms:

Increased psychosocial stress;
Excessive physical exertion (exercise seems to decrease the pain threshold of people with fibromyalgia but increase it in healthy individuals);
Lack of slow-wave sleep;
Changes in humidity and barometric pressure;

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Symptoms can come and go or they can stay with you;
At first, you may feel like you have the flu;
Forgetting things or having a hard time focusing;
Feeling tired even after sleeping;
Muscle pain or aches;
Pain or aches in joints without swelling or redness;
Feeling discomfort or “out-of-sorts” for more than 24 hours after being active;
Headaches of a new type, pattern, or strength;
Tender lymph nodes in the neck or under the arm;
Sore throat;
Constant cough;
Feelings of depression;

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Early Symptoms:

Frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers;
Fingers feel useless and swollen, even though little or no swelling is apparent;
Symptoms often first appear in one or both hands during the night, since many people sleep with flexed wrists;
May wake up feeling the need to “shake out” the hand or wrist;

Progressed Symptoms:

People might feel tingling during the day;
Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks;
Muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away;
Unable to tell between hot and cold by touch;

Arthritis

Pain and limited function of joints;
Inflammation of the joints;
Joint stiffness, swelling, redness, and warmth;
Tenderness of the inflamed joint can be present;

Many of the forms of rheumatic disease arthritis symptoms affect various organs of the body that do not directly involve the joints:

Fever;
Gland swelling;
Weight loss;
Fatigue;
Feeling unwell;
Abnormalities of organs (lungs, heart, or kidneys);

Migraine Headaches

Moderate to severe pain, which may be confined to one side of the head or may affect both sides;
Head pain with a pulsating or throbbing quality;
Pain that worsens with physical activity;
Pain that interferes with your regular activities;
Nausea with or without vomiting;
Sensitivity to light and sound;

Not all migraines are the same. Most people experience migraines without auras, and others have an aura of about 15 to 30 minutes before your headache begins or even continue after your headache starts. Aura symptoms include:

See sparkling flashes of light;
Perceive dazzling zigzag lines in your field of vision;
Experience slowly spreading blind spots in your vision;
Feel tingling, pins and needles sensations in one arm or leg;
Rarely, experience weakness or language and speech problems;

Whether or not you have auras, you may have one or more sensations of premonition (prodrome) several hours or a day or so before your headache actually strikes, including:

Feelings of elation or intense energy;
Cravings for sweets;
Thirst;
Drowsiness;
Irritability or depression;