Your healthcare professional will perform a physical exam and ask questions if you are seeking medical attention for pain. You should be able to describe your pain, including its origin, intensity, duration, and severity.
You may also be asked by your doctor:
How pain can impact your life
If you have any other symptoms
If there are triggers that make it worse,
If you have any medical conditions, please let us know.
If you have suffered any recent injuries, illnesses
If you have recently made changes to your exercise or diet regimen,
If you are taking medication or supplements
Your doctor may order the following tests depending on your symptoms and your medical history to determine the cause of your pain.
To check for infection, blood tests, stool tests or cerebral spinal fluid tests are all available.
Endoscopy is used to examine your reproductive, gastrointestinal, and respiratory tracts for damage.
X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans or ultrasound scans can be used to determine if there are any signs of damage to your muscles, ligaments or bones.
To collect tissue for analysis, biopsy
Nerve function tests to find out how your nerves work
Psychological tests are used to detect depression.
Functional pain syndromes are those where there is no evidence of underlying disease. After other possible causes have been ruled out, these syndromes can be diagnosed based only on the symptoms.
How can pain be treated?
The cause of pain, if any, must be addressed. Once the cause of acute pain has been addressed or eliminated, it will usually go away. Chronic pain, particularly if it is from an unknown cause, can be more difficult and costly to manage.
You might experience pain from an injury. It might heal on its own or you may need medication, surgery or other medical attention. An infection can cause pain that doesn't go away on its own, or it may require medication or other treatment.
Your doctor may prescribe medication, surgery or other treatments to treat chronic conditions such as arthritis, cancer, and chronic migraines.
The healthcare professional may also recommend pain relief treatments. They might recommend or prescribe:
Over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, are available.
Prescription anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids and certain COX-2 inhibitors are available.
Opioid medications may be prescribed to relieve acute pain after surgery or injury.
Antidepressant and anti-seizure medication may be prescribed to treat certain types of functional pain syndromes or neuropathic pain.
Physical therapy can be used to relieve pain from injuries, multiple sclerosis or other health conditions.
Occupational therapy can help you adapt your daily activities to reduce pain.
Your doctor might also recommend complementary therapies such as:
Biofeedback is a method where a therapist uses electronic devices in order to teach you how to control your body functions, such as breathing.
Acupressure or acupuncture, where a practitioner stimulates pressure points on the body to relieve chronic pain.
Massage is a technique in which the therapist massages muscles and other soft tissues to relieve tension and pain.
Meditation is a way to relax and release tension and stress through meditation
Tai chi and yoga combine gentle movements with deep breathing to stimulate the muscles and relieve tension.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a method of consciously relaxing different muscle groups and promoting relaxation.
Guided imagery allows you to visualize calming images through guided imagery
Your doctor might also suggest lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help you manage your pain. They might suggest that you:
Apply a cold pack wrapped in a towel to reduce inflammation and swelling from injuries or chronic conditions like arthritis.
Warm baths or heating pads can be used to relieve stiffness, soreness or cramps.
Avoid or limit certain triggers or activities that can make your pain worse.
Take steps to reduce stress and make it less stressful
Regular gentle exercise
Get enough sleep
Follow the RICE general rule for minor injuries that do not require medical attention.
The injured area can be treated
Apply a towel-wrapped cold or ice pack to the area. Ice it for between 10 and 20 minutes.
Apply pressure to the area. Wrap it in an elastic bandage that provides support but is not too tight that it causes numbness.
Lift the area that is injured above your heart