Explaining Aches and Pains

Body aches and pains are something that happen to us all, and they can occur for a multitude of reasons. Commonly, aches and pains can begin to develop more-so as we age. However, aches and pains may also be the cause of certain conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis. This article will touch upon those symptoms and many more that are associated with pain, as well as what you can do to prevent them, and the different types of treatment methods that healthcare professionals like myself will recommend patients try in effort to reduce the severity of their pain.

Since it was one of the first things mentioned, we’ll begin with carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a condition you’ve likely heard mentioned a bunch of times but may not necessarily be aware of what it is. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that affects the hands and fingers, and it is typically caused by repetitive movement of one or both hands over a prolonged period of time. Individuals who work desk jobs, such as receptionists, are more likely to develop this condition, as an example of repetitive movement is use of computers/typing, which is something someone in this job position does a lot of. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused from fluid retention. Along with pain in the hands, fingers and wrists, other symptoms that someone with carpal tunnel syndrome might experience include numbness, tingling and burning.

The neck and back are also two common spots on the body that people often complain that they experience pain in, which is also common amongst individuals with desk jobs or in those who sit for extended amounts of time. However, there are also other reasons why you might develop pain in these areas – which can include minor things, such as not sleeping on the right mattress or using the right kind of pillow, heavy lifting and other strenuous activity, to more severe reasons such as trauma or injury to the area, as well as vertebrae degeneration/degenerative disc disease. When it comes to preventing back pain, you can help slow down disc degeneration by engaging in more strengthening exercises and maintaining a healthy weight. If you have a sore back and/or neck, you should avoid heavy lifting and any strenuous exercise until you’ve fully healed, as doing too much too soon can either worsen your injury or make you susceptible to developing further injuries in the future. You may also find relief from applying heat or ice to the affected areas.

Another common cause of pain is arthritis – which affects as many as 6 million Canadians. There are many different types of arthritis one can be diagnosed with, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis, typically occurs with age (though it can also occur as a result of injuries to the joints or obesity) and is the result of wear and tear. Joints such as the spine, knees, hips and feet are the most common ones affected. Exercise can be one good way to prevent osteoarthritis, as can keeping a healthy diet. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system will attack different parts of the body – the joints, in particular – leading to inflammation and severe damage to the joints if left untreated. Symptoms of RA can come on suddenly or build up slowly, and include things like pain, stiffness, and swelling. While medical research has yet to uncover an exact cause of RA, some treatment methods that have been known to help include corticosteroid medications, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (also known as DMARDs), and biologic agents. To learn more about the different types of arthritis and treatment methods used, click here.

If you suffer from pain of an unknown origin or if there is no underlying cause, then you may have what’s known as fibromyalgia. The most common symptoms associated with fibromyalgia include pain, muscle tenderness, and even fatigue. As many as 50 to 70 percent of those with fibromyalgia will also experience headaches and migraines. Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia mimic other pain-related conditions so closely, it can often be hard to get a definitive or accurate diagnosis. Furthermore, because it is not known what, exactly, causes fibromyalgia, this can also make it a difficult condition to treat. Patients with fibromyalgia may have instances where their pain will go into remission, in which they experience no pain for a prolonged period of time, while they can also experience flare-ups that can last for days, sometimes weeks at a time. The most important thing when it comes to treating fibromyalgia is through pain control, though this is often a case of trial and error, as what works for one individual may not benefit another.

For more information on the various types of pain that individuals experience as well as for some great resources on how to reduce pain, visit PainBC.ca.