What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is any pain that stays with a person for more than six months or well beyond the expected period of recovery. It is a distinction from pain that occurs for a short period of time, generally less than 6 months, which is called acute pain. Pain that stays beyond 6 months usually accompanies chronic diseases like arthritis, and most forms of cancer. It is also believed that this pain represents disease itself.

Long-term pain is usually more resistant to treatment compared to acute pain. Generally, a more detailed plan of treatment is employed since pain management is an integral part of care and is long-term. If not properly treated, it can produce severe problems for a person and hinder normal function – even disable a person from properly carrying out activities of daily living.

There are by and large two types of chronic pain. They are the nociceptive pain and the neuropathic pain. Nociceptive pain is caused due to the activation of nociceptors in the body. For example, when you get hit by a 16-wheeler truck, suffered from several broken bones, and survived to tell the tale, that’s nociceptive pain. If your liver developed a malignant growth and is crowding the organ itself, giving you a deep ache in the trunk, that is nociceptive pain.

On the other hand, neuropathic pain is caused by any damage or malfunction of the nervous system, whether peripheral or central. These are the pains you see in people who have undergone amputation (it’s called phantom limb sensation); people with multiple sclerosis; victims of AIDS or those with HIV infection; those with spine problems or have had spine surgery; even those with diabetes; and those with other conditions related to nerve problems.

As part of pain management, your physician will routinely prescribe drugs, among other things, to help eliminate the pain. Tramadol hydrochloride provides a very effective analgesic for long-term pain. Its extended release form is ideal for people who need round the clock treatment. This ensures that a patient gets enough of the drug even during the wee hours when asleep. It enables a person to function during the day and rest during the night.

Tramadol is a narcotic-like drug. It was synthetically made to replicate some of narcotic’s affinity with mu-opioid receptors. However, this agonistic effect on the said receptors is too low to cause the same addictive effects as narcotics. Furthermore, this drug also inhibits serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake to produce analgesia. These properties of the drug make it useful even for neuropathic types of pain.

Although addiction with this drug is unlikely, dependence can possibly occur. Same can be said with tolerance, especially if not titrated correctly after starting the therapy. Patients should keep in mind that this drug does have its risks, like any other. Taking it with alcohol can produce nasty side effects. Those who have been addicted to controlled substances and alcohol should not take this drug. Pregnant women should also avoid taking it.

Tramadol hydrochloride is a prescription drug and the instructions from the physician should be followed strictly. With its extended release form, chronic sufferers of pain will have relief and live a normal life.