Are you living with pain? You don’t have to! Relief is within reach, and there’s no excuse for not getting it. In fact, thanks to new research and treatments, pain-management experts now say that most pain can be relieved with currently available treatments, including remedies you can prescribe yourself at home. Virtually every pain sufferer, even those with seemingly intractable, stubborn chronic pain, can manage aches and discomforts effectively, so that they can lead full, joyful lives again.
Every day, researchers are adding to the arsenal of pain-relieving medications, from anti-inflammatories to antidepressants to opioids that can be delivered by mouth, patch, or programmed pumps. As scientists learn more about the mechanisms that drive pain, including the nerves, receptors, and chemicals that tell our brains that we hurt, they are applying that knowledge to the development of new drugs and drug-delivery systems that can control those messages, and even prevent them from reaching the brain.
Understanding how pain works has also led to new one-size-does-not-fit-all thinking. We now know, for example, that emotions act like the volume control on an iPod, able to turn up or down how much pain we feel. We know that pain can be cranked up by fear or depression, or even the belief that pain is running your life. We know that figuring out what triggers your particular pain – including your outlook and emotions, not to mention the activities you engage in and even the food you eat – is a critically important step to making it better.
“Just as you have unique facial features, so, too, do you have a unique response to pain,” says Vicki Rackner, MD, a surgeon and expert in patient advocacy. “Part of it is simply the way your nerves are wired to transmit pain signals.” That’s why antidepressants, mind-body techniques, like meditation and tai chi, and psychological counseling have become a vital part of many pain treatment plans.
Not only is each person’s pain unique, but the secret to feeling better is different for each person. It usually involves not one magic pill or procedure, although in some cases a single treatment does work wonders, but a combination of approaches that, together, bring the pain under control or erase it entirely. It’s no coincidence that a growing number of pain centers offer a multidisciplinary approach to relief, combining high-tech drugs and procedures with low-tech approaches like diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, and massage. Make Pain Disappear takes the same tack, presenting the full gamut of options for just about every type of pain, including solutions your doctor can deliver, and instant at-home tips and tricks for feeling better right away. With a little trial and error you can almost certainly find the combination that works just right for you.
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