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What is pain?

You will achieve a better quality of life if you manage the pain effectively. This begs the question: what is pain? Doctors make the distinction that pain is:

nociceptive when the nervous system properly identifies a source of pain — this might be a cut or a broken bone — and it tells the brain that there is an injury; and
neuropathic when the nervous system mistakenly signals an injury where none actually exists.

The simple answer is that pain is an unpleasant sensation that warns you of potential or actual damage to your body. It can be slight, moderate or severe. Where you place yourself on this scale is highly subjective although there are internationally agreed standards for the measurement of pain. Pain can also be acute, which is temporary, or chronic which lasts for a significant period of time. With some conditions, the pain lasts for the rest of your life. Chronic pain affects each person in many different ways:

physical pain signals discomfort and usually requires some action from you — if your hand is coming into contract with a sharp or hot object, you will snatch your hand away from the danger, if your leg aches, you may move or massage it, and so on;
if physical pain persists, it may cause emotional discomfort and make you feel down, that the situation is hopeless, and so on;
the fact that you can no longer move around or do things with the same freedom will add to your general mood of frustration and, sometimes, anger;
the more angry and despondent you become, the greater the temptation to retreat into yourself producing social isolation — worse, the greater the level of stress, the more likely it is that you will tense up, that your muscles will start to ache and cramp, and your mental state will worsen with the additional pain;
with isolation comes the risk of psychological illness — depression beckons.

This is the descending pattern of pain and, unless you manage the situation effectively, the pain may come to so dominate your life, that your life becomes a misery. The only way to manage pain is to take control of yourself and act positively to restore as much of your quality of life as is possible.