From helper to torment – Why every pain is individualIt pokes, it throbs, it burns, it pulls, it throbs or it squeezes – pain has many varieties. And no matter how it feels exactly – it is always unpleasant. Acute pain is a vital warning signal. If the pain solidifies and patients suffer for months, the stimulus itself becomes an illness. You can prevent chronic pain with a healthy and active lifestyle.
Ouch! When we get too close to a hot stove, get our finger stuck in the door, or when our head hums after a hard day, pain is a warning signal. As a vital helper, it alerts us to illnesses and dangers. Receptors in the skin perceive prere or heat like feelers. Pass this information to the spinal cord.
Dr. Jan-Peter Jansen, medical director of the Pain Center Berlin explains: "In the spinal cord is evaluated whether the pain is so important that the brain should know about it. When the information reaches the brain, the stimulus is quickly compared with previous pain experiences." Then the brain evaluates: Can the pain be endured?? Threat of danger? Perception depends on many factors.
The brain always interprets pain according to the situation and always differently.
Dr. Jan-Peter Jansen, medical director of the Pain Center Berlin
Pain that stays
Once the disease has healed and the danger has been averted, the pain disappears again. Mostly. In some patients the pain develops a "life of its own". If the burning, throbbing or pulling lasts longer than three months, medicine speaks of chronic pain. About 28 percent of Germans report chronic pain, according to the German Pain Society. The scientific-medical association estimates the number of pain sufferers at about 2.2 million. With them come to the chronic pain strong physical. Psychological impairments in addition. "These are people who have had back pain for ten years or migraines every day. Their life is determined by pain", explains Jansen. In those affected, the pain-processing system in the body changes so that it even generates pain signals itself.
Everything that is touched – the feet in the shoes, the belt at the waist – causes pain and takes up more and more space.
The most frequently affected are the back, the head and the joints.
But which pain becomes chronic?
"We observe, for example, that people with low incomes are more often affected by pain. As a rule, these people are very controlled by others, they have little room for maneuver. They can often decide little at work, they cannot afford many things. It does not mean that they are unhappier. But this foreign determination leads to a permanent tension, which can cause pain", explains Dr. Jansen. Chronic pain can be avoided with a healthy lifestyle and a fulfilling professional and private life.
Prevent chronic pain
Eat a healthy diet with little meat and lots of vegetables.
Reduce alcohol and nicotine.
Avoid foods with a lot of sugar, fat and additives.
Incorporate exercise into your daily routine – preferably every day. Fitness bracelets help many people get off the couch. They sense movement like running or swimming and remind the wearer to get on their feet after sitting for a long time.
Try to reduce stress. Get help for example with the care of sick relatives.
Realize yourself in your job. If you find your work unfulfilling or unappreciated, you will get sick more quickly.
Be active: meet family and friends, pursue hobbies.
Who does not get rid of his pain, should quickly go to the doctor. Because the longer they last, the higher the risk that the pain will become chronic. The first point of contact is the family doctors, who refer to pain physicians if necessary. Jan-Peter Jansen has a tip for his patients: "Be in love again with a sovereign bitch.