What is pain?

Pain is defined as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage?” Pain is something that we all experience sometime in our lives. Pain is a very personal event and it has a different meaning to each one of us. Pain has both physical and emotional elements. It cannot be measured by any medical test; only the person experiencing pain can describe it. One of the ways in which pain is described is through the use of a pain scale. Your healthcare provider will ask you to rate your pain on such a scale. This rating, provided only by you, will help to determine what pain management adjustments are necessary to keep your pain under control. You are the best judge of the type and intensity of your pain, and it is your right as a patient to have your pain assessed and managed. Uncontrolled pain is emotionally and physically draining and depletes the body of energy necessary for you to participate fully in your daily living activities. For these reasons, frequent communication with your healthcare team regarding your pain level is essential for optimum pain relief results.

What are the types of pain?

The pain that we usually experience is acute (short duration) and normally is relieved by oral medication. However, chronic pain is characterized by pain that is of a long duration (generally longer than 6 months). There are two types of chronic pain: non-malignant pain that may result from an injury or disease and malignant pain, also know as cancer pain, that is caused by a tumor or may be the result of cancer treatments. Chronic non-malignant and cancer pain may require long-term pain management therapy to help the person achieve a satisfactory quality of life. Interventional therapies, like the pump, are offered when all other methods of pain control have produced unsatisfactory results.

How is pain transmitted?

Years of research have helped the medical profession understand the basic mechanisms of how pain is transmitted. All pain is sent from the spinal cord to the brain where the pain impulse is recognized. No matter where the pain occurs in the body, the spinal cord receives the message. If the transmission of the pain is blocked at the spinal cord level before it reaches the brain, pain is felt to a lesser degree or not at all.

Blocking the pain impulse at the spinal cord level, before it reaches the brain, is the approach utilized with the CODMAN 3000 Pump.

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