Drancy Live MD Blog

Thoughts From A Retired Physician

Growing Pains – Acute or Chronic Pain

acute chronic pain

Pain is an unpleasant or uncomfortable sensation in the body. Everyone has had their fair share of pain, but some levels of pain require medical intervention when supersede the normal. Most times, people deal with pain by taking painkillers, and this usually works. But some pain can prove resistant to painkillers, and once you start experiencing that kind of pain, it warrants medical intervention.

Acute Pain

Acute pain refers to the sharp pangs pain that cut through the body sharply, usually not lasting for long. They can be caused by a number of things. Some may be as a result of surgery, a dental procedure or even broken bones. Labor and child delivery can also cause acute pain. With time, acute pain should pass away, especially once its cause has been treated. But in some cases, the pain can linger longer than it should. When it crosses that line, it is referred to as chronic pain.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is aggravated acute pain, although sometimes it can be a dull, ever- present pain. It can last for varied periods of time; sometimes it can even last for years. Chronic pain can start as acute pain, but even after the underlying cause of the pain has been dealt with, nerves continue transmitting pain signals to the brain.

Chronic pain has both physical and emotional effects on an individual. Physical effects include limited mobility, tense muscles, lack of appetite and loss of energy. Because of these sudden limitations that continuous pain imposes on victims, they tend to be irritable and depressed. Short temper might become evident where it was non- existent before. Some may however be attacked by bouts of anxiety and extreme fear of injury. This emotional stress might be reason enough to disrupt the everyday life of those affected, as they might be unable to go to work.

Symptoms

Acute and Chronic pain can assume different forms. There are people who will complain of throbbing headaches every now and then. For some, it might be persistent pain in the lower back. People suffering from arthritis are also likely to suffer chronic pain. Chronic pain could also be neurogenic or psychogenic pain.

The origins of chronic pain can be varied, but sometimes, it is difficult to pin point the cause of the pain. This is not the case with acute pain, where after the cause of the pain has been treated, the sharp pains cease to attack the individual. Chronic pain can result from an infection, or even trauma, although there is always the possibility of the source of the pain remaining mysterious for a long time.

Treatment

Painkillers are the ideal treatment for pain, most of which can be bought as over the counter drugs. With acute or chronic pain however, one may have to undergo a medical procedure to put the pain to an end. Medication can be an injection of localized anesthesia to numb the nerves around the affected area. Nerve blocks may also be administered by your healthcare provider to keep the pain in check.

Treatment can also take the form of acupuncture, such as electrical stimulation, physical therapy, psychotherapy or even surgery. Sometimes, relaxation techniques may help lower the levels of pain. Most often, different kinds of treatment are combined to increase their efficiency.

When unexplained pain becomes a part of your life, it is important that you visit your doctor so that you can be checked and treated early enough. The earlier you get medical assistance, the less you will have to endure pain.

Cure A Cold Sore and Regain Your Perfect Lips

cold sore

Cold sores or fever blisters, are blister-like lesions or small sores inside the mouth or on the face. They are usually very painful and they leave a burning sensation before they burst. As soon as they do, they would eventually crust over. Cold sores can be extremely itchy and annoying, which is why we took the time to list down all the things you need to know about treating it and more!

Fast Facts

  • Cold sores are minute blisters that develop around the mouth or on the lips.
  • Cold sores are usually caused by herpes HSV-1 simplex virus strain.
  • On rare occasions, cold sores can be a result to strain HSV-2. It is what you get from having oral sex to a person with genital herpes.
  • Cold sores clear within seven to ten days untreated.
  • Herpes simplex virus, one of the major causes of cold sores, is highly contagious. It can easily be passed on from one person to another just by close or direct contact.
  • As soon as one gets contracted with the cold sore virus, the virus would remain inactive for most of its lifespan.
  • If the affected area is injured or if the person experiences fatigue, the simplex virus will activate.
  • There are people who frequently suffer from cold sores from up to three to four times a year.
  • There is no possible way you can completely prevent yourself from becoming infected with cold sores.
  • As much as possible, avoid having close contact to anyone if you have the virus.

Signs and Symptoms

A lot of people infected with cold sores experience no signs or symptoms at all. You may have been infected with it already, but you would not know unless an outbreak occurs. If you notice signs of a primary cold sore infection, there is a high chance that it is already severe. Below are the signs and symptoms of the herpes simplex virus:

  • Tongue or mouth lesions
  • Blistering in the mouth
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Tongue and/or mouth pain
  • Lip swelling
  • Possible swallowing difficulties
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Causes

Below are the triggers that may activate the virus.

  • Mental stress
  • Upset or deep sadness
  • Injury to affected area
  • Menstruation
  • Intense sunlight

Treatment Options

Most cold sore cases will clear up in just one or two weeks even without any treatment. If you would want to shorten its duration and alleviate the pain and discomfort, pick any of the treatment options we have listed below.

Antivirals

According to our friends at dermatologistorangecounty.net, over-the-counter antiviral creams can slightly shorten the lifespan of your infection, but only if it is used properly. Most of the creams found in the market today contain either penciclovir like Zovirax and Soothelip or acyclovir. These creams only take effect if you have applied it just as soon as the cold sore has developed. It is crucial that you do this as soon as the itching and tingling sensation occurs.

Painkillers

Tylenol or Ibuprofen (paracetamol) may help take away the pain from cold sores. If the patient is a kid, you need to ask the pharmacist if they have a medication that is in liquid form. If by chance the patient has/had stomach ulcers or is asthmatic, he or she should not be allowed to take ibuprofen.

These are the all the important things you need to know about cold sores. Choose any of the treatment options we have provided and you will be well on your way to being free from the virus!

Deadly Skin Disease – A Melanoma Primer

skinMany people today are addicted to unhealthy diet, smoking, drugs; alcohol that have all exposed them to constant threat of hazardous diseases. Among those diseases, there is the deadly disease called as Melanoma. Melanoma is a form of a skin cancer. Melanoma signs can be very different from person to person. For some people, it may be as simple as a sore or growth that takes a long time to heal. Other signs may include but are not limited to, lumps that seem to be shiny, red, or smooth. Or they could be rough and scaly patches of skin. Just because there is a change in your skin doesn’t necessarily mean that you have skin cancer, but you need to stay on the safe side and have it checked out.

So what is Melanoma? How does it spread and what are the possible measures to control it?

Melanoma Defined:

It is a very hazardous skin disease which can take a person’s life if the treatment is not effective. There is a dark coating which comes across the area where the tumor begins. Melanoma is a skin tumor which arises from melanocyte cells. When the cells start to develop, they give birth to a dark pigment called melanin. The dark shade on the skin comes from melanin. Here is when the skin starts to decay and in severe conditions can reciprocate the skin’s normal condition. That is why experts call it a pure skin disease which damages the cells of the skin and in worst conditions it can even penetrate into the flesh of the body. In this disease, a tumor develops in the tissues of skin. It is a very dangerous disease which causes swelling of the section where it appears.

Types of Melanoma: The melanoma is classified into four major types, which are as follows:

Spreading melanoma:

It is a black and brown shaded melanoma which is more common in Caucasians. This can appear in any age and the appearance of this mole is plain and flattered.

Protruding melanoma:

It is a stick out melanoma which is sometimes found with bluish and sometimes with reddish blue color on the body. In rare cases it has no color.

Malevolent melanoma:

This is a skin coating of brown which is damaged by sun rays. It is found in the young people with fair and soft skin. The shape of the disease is irregular and sometimes it has a flat appearance.

Acral melanoma:

It is found in different peripheral body parts like fingers and toes. The dark shade with a greenish black coat appears inside the nail. This type is found in most of African-Americans.

Treatment:

The damaged cells which are grown by the disease can be removed through the surgery. It depends about the sternness of the disease that how much the cells have damaged the skin and the portion inside. If the lymph nodes are also disturbed, the treatment becomes a bit more difficult because the melanoma is impossible to control.

If the disease has damaged the lymph nodes, than there is no other cure than removing the lymph nodes.

What is Hemangioma and How To Treat It

Hemangioma is defined as a non-cancerous growth that forms around a particular place as a result of abnormal blood vessel collection. It is usually found on either the internal organs or the skin. These growths are congenital in nature. This implies that they are developed while by fetus while in the womb.

The liver is the major casualty among the internal organs. Liver hemangiomas virtually exhibit no symptoms. They are discovered as an incidental finding in most cases. This is when a person is tested for a completely unrelated and different condition. Hemangiomas on the skin initially resemble small scratches on toddlers and grow progressively with age. Nevertheless, skin hemangiomas do not outlast the child’s 10th birthday.

They are usually small in size but may progressively enlarge or develop into lesions which may need to be removed. Researchers still grapple with the various ways that can be employed to remove them on the organs as well as the skin.

Causes

It is still not yet clear what cause them but researchers have postulated that some placental proteins produced during gestation are the main culprits.
Skin hemangiomas may form on the subcutaneous or the top layer of the skin. It starts off as a red birthmark on the individual’s skin and progressively protrudes upward from the skin.

Those on the liver form both on and in the surface of the liver. They have been suspected to be estrogen-sensitive. This is why a good number of women are put under replacement estrogen during their menopause to curtail the decline of the natural levels of estrogen. When this level of estrogen is in excess, it can initiate the growth of hemangiomas of the liver.

Apart from the above two parts of the body, there are also other parts predisposed to this condition and include the brain, lungs, colon and the kidneys.

Signs and Symptoms

In the internal organs, the following are some of the symptoms exhibited: vomiting, nausea, feeling full in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite and discomfort in the abdomen. These symptoms are usually evident due to multiple hemangiomas, when they grow large in size or when they happen to grow in sensitive areas.

On the skin, they are evident as small red bumps or scratches. When they grow, they resemble birthmarks 9Burdundy-colored). Due to their deep red appearance, they are often referred to as strawberry hemangiomas.

Diagnosis

They can be diagnosed by sight when a physical examination is underway in the case of skin hemangiomas. Those on the organs are discovered during CT scan, ultrasound, MRI and other imaging tests as incidental findings.

Treatment

In some cases, small hemangiomas do not need treatment as they disappear with time. However others need comprehensive treatments especially those that develop sores or lesions. Treatment options available for such cases include laser treatment, medicated gel (e.g. becaplermin or Regranex), surgical removal and corticosteroid medication.

Corticosteroid medication is injected into the hemangioma to suppress its growth as well as alleviate further inflammation.

The medical gel is employed in the treatment of the ulcers on the skin surface of the hemangiomas.

Surgery and laser treatment are used when a sensitive area is hit or the hemangioma is huge and also to promote faster healing.

Dealing With Fibromyalgia Pain

fibromyalgiaFibromyalgia refers to a disorder that affects the musculoskeletal system thus causing chronic muscular pain throughout the body. It can also result in fatigue and body stiffness.

PREVALENCE

Research indicates that about 1 in 50 people will develop this condition at some point in their lives. In the United States, it is estimated that around 5 million people are affected by fibromyalgia. However, this statistic only accounts for patients who are 18 years old and above.

The condition is more prevalent in women than in men. Somewhere between 80 to 90 % of individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. However, men and children can also be affected. It mostly develops between the ages of 30 to 60 with middle aged people being at a higher risk of diagnosis.

CAUSES

The exact causes of fibromyalgia are currently not definitively known. Many researchers indicate that it is brought on by various factors often singly or in combination. What has been determined is that the condition commonly runs in families; therefore there could possibly be a gene connection to this ailment.

Fibromyalgia syndrome is more common in people with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and bacterial or viral infections. Other individuals with the syndrome are more likely to have a past history of psychological and emotional trauma such as abuse during childhood or may have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, this condition can also occur on its own.

Some scientists speculate that fibromyalgia occurs as a result of the loss of the pain inhibiting signals that flow from the brain down the spinal cord. Repetitive injuries and chronic stress are the suspected contributing factors in the weakening of these pain blocking signals.

SYMPTOMS

Fibromyalgia will affect different people in different ways. The most common symptom is the chronic pain that manifests as widespread muscles aches and stiffness. The back and the neck areas are the most commonly affected. The pain will vary throughout the day.

Sufferers also report lack of proper sleep resulting in overwhelming fatigue. Some people may exhibit irritability, poor concentration or coordination, memory lapses and numbness in the extremities (hands and feet).

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Currently, there is no cure for this condition. All the treatment options are aimed at managing the symptoms.

1. MEDICINAL TREATMENT

These treatments mainly focus on chronic pain management. Painkillers such as Paracetamol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen and NSAIDs may be administered to combat the pain. In some instances, tricyclic anti-depressants including Nortipltlyine and Amitriptyline may be used to improve general quality of sleep and balance neurotransmitters in the CNS.

These drugs have to be prescribed by a professional rheumatologists or physician. They are commonly used in conjunction with physical therapy.

2. NON-DRUG TREATMENT

Sleep improvement, regular exercise, relaxation techniques and dietary changes are all pivotal in treating fibromyalgia. Physical therapists will recommend a light exercise program in order to improve blood flow, muscle tone and moods.

They can also administer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which has been shown to help fibromyalgia patients by aiming at stress and psychological trauma. Other alternative therapies that can improve mobility and ease muscle tension include acupuncture, hydrotherapy, heat and cold application, meditation, yoga and massage.

The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is quite difficult because it often overlaps with other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, spinal arthritis or chronic fatigue syndrome. As such, comprehensive diagnostic criteria have been formulated that encompass the full spectrum of fibromyalgia symptoms and similar conditions.

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