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.
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs primarily in older men, and is caused by a buildup of excess uric acid in the body that crystallizes in a joint, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Rotator cuff tendinits is the most common shoulder injury. The best course of treatment is to rest, apply ice, take ibuprofen, and do stretching and strengthening exercises.
Doctors know it as zoster, but up to a million Americans are stricken each year by the infection they call shingles. By either name, it's an unsightly, often painful process that can be prevented by a vaccine that was approved in 2006.
The culprit is varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella in children). The vast majority of children recover completely, but that's not the end of the story. Instead of being killed and eliminated from the body, VZV goes into hibernation, hiding out in the part of the nervous system known as the sensory nerve ganglia. In most people, the virus remains dormant and harmless for life, but in up to 15%, VZV becomes active and causes shingles.
Most patients with shingles are older than 60, and some have weakened immune systems. The virus spreads along the sensory nerve to form a line of blisters on one side of the body. Most patients recover fully, but a few develop serious complications, and up to a third develop long-lasting pain (post-herpetic neuralgia). Antiviral medicines, which are often prescribed with steroids, can reduce the risk of pain.
Ankle sprains are common, but they require proper treatment to heal correctly. You should rest for one or two days and use ice to reduce swelling, then begin exercising to regain strength and range of motion.
Some men are able to successfully treat their lower back pain with medication, but some require additional treatment such as physical therapy, steroid injections, or surgery.
Hallux rigidus is stiffness in the big toe caused by arthritis in its joint. It can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication or sometimes a corticosteroid injection, but if these measures are unsuccessful, surgery may be necessary.
1. To make a sling, cut a piece of cloth, such as a pillowcase, about 40 inches square. Then cut or fold the square diagonally to make a triangle. Slip one end of the bandage under the arm and over the shoulder. Bring the other end of the bandage over the other shoulder, cradling the arm.
For a lower arm or wrist fracture (left), carefully place a folded newspaper, magazine, or heavy piece of clothing under the arm. Tie it in place with pieces of cloth. A lower leg or ankle fracture (right) can be splinted similarly, with a bulky garment or blanket wrapped and secured around the limb.
Broken bones (fractures) are usually not life-threatening. A fracture may not be visible to you through the skin. Symptoms include intense pain, swelling, increased pain when trying to move the injured area, or bleeding. A broken bone always requires medical attention.
Immediate careCall out for someone to get help, or call 911 yourself. Do not move or straighten the broken bone. Splinting is not necessary unless the person needs to be moved without assistance from ambulance personnel or unless the fracture has blocked blood supply to the limb. If the fracture site is deformed and the skin beyond the site of the fracture is cold, pale, and blue, pull gently lengthwise on the limb to straighten the fracture and then splint the limb.
How to Make a Sling
Do you have a history of chicken pox?
Does your skin hurt, itch, or feel numb?
Is the pain sharp, dull, or piercing? How long have you had it?
Do you have a rash? If so, for how long?
Is the rash in more than one place on your skin?
Is the rash on one side of your body only?
Has the rash at any time looked like small blisters?
Do you still have pain even if the rash is gone?
What triggers the pain (for example, a light touch)?
Do your symptoms interfere with your ability to sleep or perform activities of daily living?
Do you have any risk factors for infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)?
Are you taking any medications?
Careful skin exam
Skin scraping to examine under the microscope, or for viral culture, immunofluorescence, or polymerase chain reaction testing