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The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.
Pain is not just a physical sensation. It is influenced by attitudes, beliefs, personality and social factors, and can affect emotional and mental wellbeing. Although two people may have the same pain condition, their experience of living with pain can be vastly different.
According to Pain Australia, pain is classified in three main categories. Acute, chronic and cancer pain.
Acute pain lasts for a short time and occurs following surgery, trauma or other condition. It acts as a warning to the body to seek help. Although it usually improves as the body heals, in some cases, it may not.
Chronic pain lasts beyond the time expected for healing following surgery, trauma or other condition. It can also exist without a clear reason at all. Although chronic pain can be a symptom of other disease, it can also be a disease in its own right, characterised by changes within the central nervous system.
Cancer pain can occur in patients with early stage and advanced disease, and in cancer survivors as a severe and debilitating side-effect of treatment.
Unfortunately in everyday life, we all deal with different types of pain and the worst bit is, we cannot avoid pain altogether during our human experience. But luckily, not all pain signals trouble.
Whatever type of pain you are experiencing, these are the ones you should never ignore.
- Chest pain
Never ignore chest pain because it may be as a result of heart problems from the lungs, esophagus, ribs, muscles or the nerves. Whenever you feel a sharp pain in your chest, you should consider medical help. It could be life threatening and may lead to heart attack, coronary artery disease and other health problems. Other common chest pains include pneumonia, acidity and muscle strain among others.
- Splitting head pain
We get headaches as a result of overworking, sinus congestion, stress, not eating enough or dehydration. However, if you constantly have unbearable, intolerable pain, you need to consider medical assistance. This could be a sign of a blood clot, an aneurysm, meningitis, a brain tumor or tear in the artery lining. If you experience this severe pain for more than a few days you need to consult a doctor ASAP.
- Abdominal pain
When you begin to experience nerve wrecking pain in your abdomen you need to take it seriously. It could be due to gallstones, pancreatitis or ectopic pregnancy in women. When you continue experiencing abdominal pain you must consult a doctor.
- Upper back pain
This can be caused by a number of things including over working your muscles or lifting heavy things. When the pain becomes severe and comes frequently you need to visit a doctor. It can be caused by gallbladder disease, infections or cancer. It can also be as a result of muscle spasm or cramp which is pressure applied on the spinal cord caused by herniated disks or tear in the aorta. As a result this causes blood to flow in the wrong places.
- Tooth pain
It can be caused by tooth sores which cause swelling on your jaw and throat. You need to consult a dentist when it becomes severe and abnormally painful. Ignoring tooth pain can lead to the neck becoming swollen, voice breaking, drooling because you cannot swallow and this is due to airway obstruction and if not managed early, may lead to suffocation.