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Pain from musculoskeletal disorders is responsible for 1 in 4 workplace absences¹
Pain is the natural human reaction to illness or injury. When someone is suffering with intense pain, they will often rely on potentially addictive pain medication to help alleviate their symptoms and help them live a normal life. However, there are many other pain management strategies that can give you the pain relief you need.
Whether it’s being able to make it to work, play with our children or simply get out of bed in the morning, pain management is an unfortunate reality for many of us.
Pain is generally broken into two categories: acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute pain is the type of pain that we first experience; it comes on quickly and has an obvious cause. You feel acute pain when standing on a nail, from a cut or burn. The term acute pain is also used to describe more intensely painful sensations like broken bones, surgery and childbirth. This sort of pain will last for fewer than six months and goes away once the cause is treated.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, is pain that lasts for longer than three months, even after the original injury has healed. Many people experience post-operative chronic pain after invasive procedures, as a result of past injuries or from chronic conditions like arthritis or endometriosis. However, sometimes there’s no apparent cause.
Pain management for all pain is important. With chronic pain, when there may be no end in sight, the right pain management is vital to stop someone developing accompanying symptoms of anxiety or depression. BioWaveGO can be used to treat both categories of pain.
Find out more about the differences between chronic and acute pain.
As the phrase suggests, pain management is a way of living productively and contentedly with a degree of pain. How easy this is depends on the severity and source of the pain, but pain management will encompass a variety of different skills and techniques, including:
The long-term benefits of light, low-impact exercise e.g. walking, swimming or gardening far outweigh any short-term increase in pain. Gentle activity will help to manage pain by stretching stiff and tense muscles and joints, making them stronger and more supple.
There are a huge number of painkilling drugs that vary in strength and availability. Although very effective, these drugs rarely relieve pain on their own. When looking for a high strength of painkiller, always consult a doctor, and follow directions carefully to guard against side effects or addiction.
Short-term injections of a mixture of anaesthetic and steroids are commonly used to treat pain. For a more significant solution and results that last longer than a few months, there are also ‘denervation’ injections, a treatment which partially destroy the nerves.
This is performed by physiotherapists, chiropractors or osteopaths and is usually a gentle treatment for pain; helping to move a joint or relax a muscle so that your range of movement improves, allowing you to increase activity or exercise.
Speaking to a psychologist, counsellor or pain specialist can be very helpful to approach pain management in an entirely different way. Changing the way you feel about pain, or looking at other negative factors and making changes can have a positive effect on your pain levels.
Acupuncture is a widely used treatment for pain that’s available in private practices and some GP clinics. Needles going into the skin produce natural pain-relieving endorphins which provide relief from pain. A course rather than a single treatment is usually recommended.
Pain relief devices
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machines claim to block pain signals as they pass through the spinal cord on the way to the brain – but their effectiveness is limited by low frequency technology which doesn’t penetrate the skin.
BioWaveGO offers a next generation alternative to the old TENS machines, using high frequency electrical currents to go right to the nerve, blocking pain at its source for up to eight hours of pain relief.
Work related musculoskeletal disorder statistics (WRMSDs) in Great Britain, 2020, Health & Safety Executive: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/msd.pdf