Please see below selected recent pain-related change.
- Despite global declines in poverty, increases in literacy and growing access to health care we have seen over the past several decades, many people in the world are in immense pain, which can be seen in disconcerting upticks in addiction, depression and suicide, particularly in wealthier nations. Wealth, technology and other advances may be aiding and abetting this suffering, according to Stanford psychiatrist and author Anna Lembke. What's going on? The human brain seeks balance. When we overindulge in food, drugs or tech, our brains look to bring us back down to Earth, which tips the balance from pleasure to pain. What can help right this balance? Accepting that pain is sometimes OK and learning to sit with it, rather than fight it, Lembke says.
- Many people today live longer than ever but modern lifestyles often mean too little activity, poor nutrition and chemically deficient food. This can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, autoimmune disorders, cancer, chronic pain, and the like. Medicine can treat the symptoms of these diseases, but not always the underlying causes. Sarah Warren, a certified Clinical Somatic Educator, seeks to educate chronic pain sufferers about how to move properly. Warren explains that while poor posture and ingrained muscle patterns contribute to chronic pain, you can train your body to move differently and try to alleviate that pain.
- Ultra-endurance athletes may have a lower sensitivity to pain than other elite athletes. A German scientist completed a study on the pain tolerance of ultra-endurance runners. Subjects in the study had to hold their hands in ice water for as long as possible. The non-athlete control group lasted an average of 96 seconds before giving up; every single one of the runners, in contrast, made it to the three-minute safety cut-off, at which point they rated the pain as a mere 6 out of 10 on average. There have been some hints in previous studies that pain tolerance is a trainable trait, and that endurance training is one way of enhancing it.
- Chronic pain blights the lives of millions and imposes a huge burden on health and care systems. Despite advances in medical science, we are often at a loss to understand what causes chronic pain or how it should be treated. Incidence of chronic pain is increasing. This is partly down to an ageing population, with older people more likely to suffer with back or nerve pain and long-term conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. Our sedentary lifestyles and an increase in obesity are also to blame.What’s more, the opioid drugs which had become the default option to help people manage it are under intense scrutiny because of their high risk of dependency and harmful side effects.
- We need pain, even if we don’t want it. Acute pain is a defence against danger, our brain’s way of telling us to react to something that’s wrong. Pain is the natural early-warning system that keeps us alive. But the purpose of chronic pain, which scientists define as pain that lasts for more than three months after its initial cause, is more mysterious. The pain’s origin might be muscular-skeletal – the result of a fall, perhaps – or neuropathic, caused by damage to the nervous system. Or it might be a result of a long-term condition, such as fibromyalgia. Whichever way, it is a pain that has gone on beyond its expected life span and does not respond to medication.
- Searching for new ways to help people manage chronic pain has become a Holy Grail for the pharmaceutical industry. Demand is rising inexorably while concerns are growing about the effectiveness and long-term impact of established treatments, such as opioid drugs. Stem cell therapy is an emerging treatment option for chronic pain. It uses a person’s own stem cells to repair damaged tissue and regenerate healthy tissue, to help repair and heal damage and degeneration. Stem cell treatments have reduced the need for prescription medication and surgery, proving to be a helpful tool towards managing and potentially eliminating pain in the body. Meanwhile, advances in nanotechnology, which manipulates particles that are 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, may have the potential to transform pain management. The technology supports minimally invasive surgery, which reduces peripheral damage and speeds up recovery, and makes it possible to deliver medication in the smallest doses where it is needed most, reducing potentially harmful side effects.
- Raconteur noted that, despite advances in medical science, we are often at a loss to understand what causes chronic pain or how it should be treated. What’s more, the opioid drugs which had become the default option to help people manage it are under intense scrutiny because of their high risk of dependency and harmful side effects. Incidence of chronic pain is increasing. This is partly down to an ageing population, with older people more likely to suffer with back or nerve pain and long-term conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. Our sedentary lifestyles and an increase in obesity are also to blame.
- Sometimes the causes of chronic pain are obvious, such as a physical injury or an illness. But there may also be no clear cause. Pain is a very personal and subjective experience. There is no test that can measure and locate pain with precision. Chronic pain may occur in a variety of locations in the body and for many different reasons. So health professionals rely on the patient’s own description of the type, timing and location of pain. This makes diagnosis difficult and complicates the process of identifying effective treatment.
- According to WIRED, ambiguity has always made pain assessment an inexact science for health care providers, which in turn frustrates the sufferers themselves. A doctor’s assessment may not line up with their sense of the issue; in some cases, patients are told there’s no apparent explanation for their pain whatsoever.
- WIRED further noted that many patients, hoping for a second opinion, are turning not to other doctors for answers but to technology. Pain diaries and tracking apps are all over e,g, the App and Google Play Stores, advertised to chronic pain patients as ways to identify trends in their symptoms. Other apps render pain as animations that change in intensity and saturation in place of a 1-to-10 scale, in the hope that a more visual metaphor makes pain easier to talk about or describe.
- At some point in our lives, many - perhaps most - us will have our heart broken. Imagine how different things might be if we paid more attention to this unique emotional pain, argued a psychologist who revealed how recovering from heartbreak starts with a determination to fight our instincts to idealise and search for answers that aren't there - and offered a toolkit on how to, eventually, move on.
- The School of Life cautioned that we are nowadays sold the story that we can, with a bit of luck, all have relatively pain and error free lives. But in fact, life is fundamentally catastrophic and tragic in structure. None of us will get through this life without some grave and searing reversals. It isn't that we've been cursed. We're just human - and we need to be prepared and have plenty of compassion for ourselves and others.