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Pain Archive

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Take arms against perplexing pain

Published February 1, 2023

Pain in the shoulder, elbow, or wrist without obvious injury is common. Possible causes include arthritis, bursitis, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff tear, tendinitis, or nerve compression in the carpal tunnel or the cubital tunnel. Home remedies include rest, ice, compression, or elevation; over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers; and devices such as a splint or brace. Other treatments include physical therapy or steroid injections. Surgery is usually a last resort.

Know your pain relievers

Published February 1, 2023

Over-the-counter (OTC) acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain. If people need OTC medication for pain relief daily for two weeks or longer, or if the maximum recommended dose on the label no longer helps, they should see their doctor. Some individuals should only take an NSAID with medical approval. These include anyone taking a blood thinner and those with a history of peptic ulcers, impaired kidney function, or heart disease.

Reduce or avoid back pain during these everyday activities

Published February 1, 2023

A number of strategies can help when back pain strikes suddenly. When driving, for example, a person can turn on heated seats if a vehicle has them, or use a lumbar pillow. Someone who has pain when sitting at a desk can get up, walk around, and do some stretches. If back pain lasts more than a week, the person should see a doctor for an evaluation. The first line of defense will most likely be exercise and strengthening regimens—two keys to staving off an aching back.

Do we feel pain more at night?

Published January 18, 2023

Chronic pain typically fluctuates during the day and some research suggests that it worsens at night, potentially interfering with sleep. If pain keeps you awake at night, trying these strategies may help you sleep better.

Stopping pain before it turns chronic

Published January 1, 2023

Short-term (acute) pain occurs for various reasons, like a sports or exercise injury, a broken bone, a medical procedure, or a household accident. Many times the pain goes away or diminishes on its own or with a combination of rest and over-the-counter remedies. But if ignored, the pain may progress to longer and potentially more serious chronic pain that requires stronger medication, physical therapy, and other treatments.

What could cause my neck pain?

Published January 1, 2023

Acute (short-term) pain usually comes from tissue injury or inflammation, known as nociceptive pain. Chronic (persistent) pain may have started as nociceptive pain, but over time the source may be from the brain itself. Understanding these different types of pain can help focus the treatment plan.

Chest pain from inflamed joints

Published January 1, 2023

Costochondritis, which is caused by inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs and the breastbone, causes chest pain that’s often mistaken for a heart problem.

Does cannabis actually relieve pain — or is something else going on?

Published December 8, 2022

Treating pain is the most common reason offered by the millions of Americans who use products that contain cannabinoids. However, there’s good evidence that a placebo provides very similar pain relief. But why?

When the first step is the hardest

Published December 1, 2022

Women are twice as likely as men to develop plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of chronic heel pain. Pain is worst in the morning and eases over the course of the day. Older adults, some athletes, and people who are overweight or obese are likelier to develop plantar fasciitis. Mainstay treatments include stretches, medication, night splints, and supportive shoes. Emerging treatments include injections of botulinum toxin (Botox), platelet-rich plasma, or fat.

Does weight loss surgery relieve pain?

Published November 30, 2022

Weight-loss surgery has many proven benefits. Now, data from a study of people who had bariatric surgery and were followed for several years suggests that it also improves pain and physical function.

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