For patients with chronic pain, what should I do when painkillers do not work?

Chronic pain is a long-lasting pain syndrome, which often recurs for months or even years, sometimes mild, sometimes severe, and persists. According to incomplete statistics, nearly half of the world’s people have been troubled by chronic pain.

Analgesics can relieve pain to a great extent, but they cannot completely eliminate pain. Therefore, sometimes patients need to seek treatment other than drugs.

If a person [breaks his leg], he will definitely suffer from acute pain immediately. However, acute pain is treated more specifically and the pain will disappear quickly. Relatively speaking, chronic pain is more like a chronic disease and will not be cured as easily and quickly as acute pain.

Therefore, in the treatment, it is not necessary to aim at [absolutely no pain]. As long as the pain can be controlled within a tolerable range and a better quality of life can be guaranteed, then the treatment is considered successful.

For the treatment of chronic pain, it is very important for patients to inform doctors in detail of their feelings. Doctors must know the location, degree, nature, attack time and whether they can relieve their pain. Doctors know enough information before they can choose the treatment method suitable for patients.

For example, some patients say that they cannot sleep, work or even walk due to pain. Then telling the doctor the truth about these situations can help the doctor to set specific and quantifiable treatment goals, such as being able to go to work, go to bed and sleep.

In order to achieve the treatment goal, doctors may take the following measures:

    Combination of drugs, such as antidepressants, can make people less sensitive to pain because of their sedative effect. Inject anesthetic or hormone into the pain area. Physical therapy, such as massage, etc. For some pain caused by psychological factors, you can seek the help of a psychologist.

The pain of most patients with chronic pain is not [cured], because social cognition often tells patients to be strong and not afraid of pain, so they are often shy and patient for a long time.

However, this kind of cognition is often not good for chronic pain, and the patient’s patience will make the pain sense more and more strengthened. Because for chronic pain, the human brain is both a comrade-in-arms and an enemy.

    The human brain filters and analyzes pain signals from limbs. Human thoughts or emotions play an important role in information processing. The brain can suppress such pain signals. Similarly, this pain signal can also be enhanced. The brain becomes more and more sensitive to chronic pain. Over time, the brain may overreact to pain signals that are not strong, so patients are more and more likely to feel pain.

In the process of chronic pain treatment, the main work of psychologists is to use some methods to help patients with chronic pain change their cognition of their own diseases and relieve pain to a certain extent. This therapy is called Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychotherapy method that includes cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. It reduces disorder emotions and behaviors and improves psychological problems by changing patients’ thinking and behavior patterns.

1. Change your thinking about pain

When the thought of pain comes to mind, the patient may say to himself [it seems that I am going to the hospital this time] [I can’t stand it any more]. Sometimes, these thoughts really make the patient suffer deeply.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients to control pain. Patients can list some negative [self-monologues] and replace them with objective and positive language, such as [there is still a good side to my life] [those pleasant things can make me feel better], etc.

2. Change pain-related behavior

When feeling pain, many people will choose to lie in bed, cover the quilt and curl up. In fact, this kind of behavior will make people more sensitive to pain and make people prone to depression.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients face and observe pain with an objective and neutral attitude. Patients will realize that pain is also constantly changing. If they can seriously feel their pain, they will not be so sensitive to pain itself in the process.

Responsible Editor: Chuyang