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Pain

by Malek Ben Mansour

15.05.2024

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Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage. Here's a detailed overview of pain, covering its origins, mechanisms and treatments.

I. Origins of Pain

Mechanical sources :

  • Physical injuries (sprains, fractures).

  • Pressure on structures (tumors, herniated discs).

  • Inflammatory sources:

  • Inflammation due to arthritis, tendinitis, etc.

  • Infections (ear infections, dental abscesses).

Neuropathic sources :

  • Peripheral nerve or central nervous system damage (multiple sclerosis, diabetes, shingles).

Functional sources :

  • Fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome.

Idiopathic pain:

  • Unknown origin .

II. Pain mechanisms

Nociception :

  • Stimuli: Pain receptors (nociceptors) detect painful stimuli (mechanical, thermal, chemical).

  • Transmission: Signals are transmitted by Aδ and C nerve fibers to the spinal cord.

  • Modulation: Signals are modulated in the spinal cord (gray matter).

  • Perception: Signals reach the brain and are interpreted as pain.

Neuropathic pain :

  • Nerve damage leading to central and peripheral sensitization.

  • Abnormal transmission of pain signals.

  • Inflammatory pain:

  • Production of inflammatory mediators (prostaglandins, cytokines).

  • Activation and sensitization of nociceptors.

Chronic pain :

  • Lasting changes to the central nervous system (neuronal plasticity).

  • Pain perception maintained even after tissue healing.

III. Types of pain

Acute Pain:

  • Recent pain, often of short duration.

  • Associated with an injury or acute illness.

Chronic pain :

  • Persistent pain (> 3 months).

  • Linked to chronic conditions or neuropathic pain.

Nociceptive pain :

  • Result of tissue damage or inflammation.

Neuropathic pain :

  • Result of nerve damage.

Psychogenic pain:

  • Associated with psychological disorders.

IV. Pain treatments

Drug treatments :

  • Non-epioid analgesics: Paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

  • Opioid analgesics: Morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl.

      Adjuvants :

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline).

    Anticonvulsants (gabapentin, pregabalin).

    Muscle relaxants (baclofen).

  • Non-medicated treatments :

      Physical therapies :

      Physiotherapy, massage therapy, thermotherapy, cryotherapy.

  • Psychological therapies :

      Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation, biofeedback.

  • Interventional therapies :

      Corticosteroid injections, nerve blocks.

      Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation (TENS).

  • Surgical treatments :

  • Neurosurgery (cordotomy, spinal cord stimulation).

      Orthopedic surgery for decompression or repair.

      Complementary and Alternative Medicine :

  • Acupuncture, chiropractic, phytotherapy.

  • V. Conclusion

  • Pain is a complex experience, influenced by physical, psychological and social factors. Understanding its origins, mechanisms and types is essential to developing effective treatment strategies. An individualized management plan, taking into account the different aspects of pain, is crucial to providing relief and improving quality of life.

  • Lagap SA offers a range of solutions for pain and inflammation. For sprains and minor bruises, Rhumalgan Emulgel could be the solution. To find out more: click on the arrow.

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