Pain

Everyone experiences pain at some time. It might be the result of an injury, operation, or pushing your body too hard. Headache, infection, arthritis, and other health problems cause pain. Unchecked, pain can rob you of the ability to sleep, work, and enjoy life. It can also lead to depression and anxiety.

We've come a long way from the days of "grin and bear it," or "no pain, no gain." Pain begets pain, so it's important to stop it early. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to pain relief. Standard medications can be a good option for many pain sufferers, but a wide range of effective nondrug therapies are also available.

Pain Articles

Will my herniated disc heal on its own?

A herniated disc is a common problem that can lead to nerve-related pain. Most often the problem will resolve on its own within six months, with rest and use of over-the-counter pain relievers. (Locked) More »

5 Internet recommendations for joint pain: Do they work?

Some methods touted on the Internet to relieve arthritis pain may do little to help with joint problems, even though they seem sensible. Music therapy and meditation may provide temporary distractions to pain. Eating a high-fiber diet can help with loss of excess weight, which can reduce osteoarthritis symptoms in weight-bearing joints, but there’s no evidence it will reduce arthritis inflammation. Therapeutic massage can make sore muscles, tendons, and joints feel better, at least temporarily. Getting more sleep is important to overall health but probably won’t relieve arthritis pain. (Locked) More »

Easing the ache

Osteoarthritis can be a debilitating condition, particularly when it affects the knee. People with this condition may not only have to limit their activity, but may need to restrict their social interaction because they are unable to walk and travel easily. Managing the condition can include a number of options, including medications to reduce pain; nondrug options, such as physical activity and physical therapy; and in severe cases, surgery to replace the affected joint. More »

All about inflammation

Anyone who has ever sprained their ankle, cut themselves while chopping vegetables, or been stung by a bee has seen the effects of inflammation firsthand. The pain, redness, swelling, and heat that it produces is the body's defense mechanism to fight off infectious agents like bacteria and repair tissue damage. Less obvious, but similar in process, is the inflammation that results from an infection like a cold, the flu, or COVID-19. Injuries and infections produce acute inflammation, the body's rapid response mechanism that aims to rid itself of the dangerous invader and return it to a state of balance. A release of warning chemicals sounds the alarm, which draws an army of white blood cells to the site of injury. Some of these cells neutralize the invaders, while others clean up the damage that results from the battle. Acute inflammation typically resolves quickly, within a period of hours to days. More »

Gout

Gout is a disorder characterized by too much uric acid in the blood and tissues. In gout, crystals of uric acid are deposited in the joints, where they cause a type of arthritis called gouty arthritis. These same crystals can also deposit in the kidneys, where they can cause kidney stones. There are three main causes of the high levels of uric acid that lead to gout: Obesity or sudden weight gain can cause high uric acid levels because the body's tissues break down more purines. (Locked) More »

Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis is an uncommon disease that causes inflammation of the joints and, in many cases, other areas, particularly the urinary tract and eyes. It is triggered by an infection, usually by a sexually transmitted organism or by certain gastrointestinal bacteria. The most common infection causing reactive arthritis is the sexually transmitted disease (STD) chlamydia. Reactive arthritis can also be caused by gastrointestinal infection from bacteria such as salmonella, shigella, campylobacter or Yersinia, infections that can cause diarrhea and vomiting. These bacteria often are found in contaminated food or water. While these infections are common, reactive arthritis is not. Scientists believe that people who develop reactive arthritis have a certain genetic makeup. Supporting the theory that genetic makeup is a risk factor, about 50% of people with reactive arthritis carry a gene called HLA-B27, compared with 8% of the general population. Reactive arthritis is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, which means the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. In this case, the immune system is jolted into action by the infection but continues attacking after the infection is gone. (Locked) More »

Sciatica

Sciatica describes persistent pain felt along the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from the lower back, down through the buttock and into the lower leg. It is the longest nerve in the body. Pain results when this nerve is compressed or injured. It most commonly results from inflammation, bony enlargement due to arthritis or a displaced (herniated) disk in the lower spine. Sciatica causes pain that begins in the lower back and spreads through the buttock, leg, calf and, occasionally, the foot. The pain generally will feel dull, aching or burning. Sometimes, it starts gradually, worsens during the night, and is aggravated by motion. Sciatica also can cause tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the affected leg. Your doctor will review your symptoms and your medical history. He or she will want to know if you have low back pain that spreads to the leg and if you have muscle weakness in your leg or foot. Your doctor will also ask questions that might suggest a serious condition, such as a bone fracture or infection. He or she will want to know if you've had: (Locked) More »

Oh, my aching jaw

There are different underlying reasons for the types of orofacial pain commonly called temporomandibular joint problems, or TMJ. Not all of them are caused by problems with the joint itself, and specialists are getting better at diagnosing them. Orofacial pain may result from a joint problem, a muscle-based problem, a headache syndrome, or a pain processing problem. (Locked) More »