Whether stabbing, dull, burning, or acute – pain warns us of harmful influences. While acute pain appears suddenly and is usually easily handled, chronic pain can recur over months and years or be constantly present. It is also much more difficult to treat. Thanks to modern treatments and pain medication, chronic pain can at least be significantly alleviated.
Pain is essential for life. Imagine having appendicitis without abdominal pain. Although that would be pleasant for you, you would probably not notice it or visit a physician. The inflammation would remain undetected and untreated, thereby leading to serious health problems. As a symptom, acute pain serves a warning function for the body.
However, when it comes to chronic pain, the case is quite different: Chronic pain does not warn of imminent danger (e.g. appendicitis) but has rather become a disease in itself. The pain thus no longer fulfils its original function as a warning signal. In medicine, this incorrect response is referred to as chronic pain syndrome.
The sensation of pain is created in the brain, not at the site of injury. However, at the site, there are nerves that send signals to the brain, where the sensation of pain is activated. In the case of intense and prolonged pain, the nerve cells change over time. They become more sensitive and react to even minute stimuli. Over time, this incorrect response is reinforced until the pain becomes independent.
Pain can be treated like any other disease. You can gain control of pain. Do not be afraid to talk to your physician about pain. Although the question “How does it hurt?” often sounds strange, try to be clear about the type of pain. Note the frequency, intensity (e.g. on a scale of 1 to 10), and type (e.g. dull and throbbing or burning and shooting) of pain. With the help of this information, your physician can determine the most appropriate treatment.
As early as the 1980s morphine was approved in a number of European countries as an active substance for administration with sustained release (sustained release form).
Thanks to a specially designed system the active substance is released slowly and continuously, so that the duration of the effect is prolonged and the drug also becomes easier to tolerate. In addition to pain relief, the most important issue is drug tolerance. In this area, too, there have been new developments and thus better treatment options.
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