The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”1.
Pain is a subjective concept based entirely on personal experience. What patients say and how they behave are the only ways of detecting it, recognizing it, evaluating its intensity and monitoring the treatment efficiency.
Pain may be acute and time-limited following an injury or trauma, during surgery or post-surgery (the type of pain triggered by treatment, for example: injections, dressings, blood tests, movement of the patient). Acute pain is therefore a form of alarm that allows the body to react and protect itself against mechanical, chemical or thermal stimulus.
Pain can also be chronic when it takes the form of a long-term (over 3 months) “disease-specific pain”. This type of pain may be neuropathic (postsurgical, diabetic, post chemotherapy, etc.), inflammatory (osteoarthritis) or dysfunctional (fibromyalgia).
Pain is the cause of nearly two-thirds of medical consultations and is the subject of many research studies, both fundamental and clinical2.
Analgesics, medical gases, specific medications… Pain relief takes many forms
Pain relief takes many forms:
Analgesics are prescribed depending on the type and intensity of pain2-3
Medical gases meet both hospitals (operating rooms, recovery rooms, emergency rooms, etc.) and out-of-hospitals needs (transportation of casualties)3
A number of specific medications (antidepressants and anticonvulsants) are used to treat neuropathic pain2
Many methods other than medication are now recognized by the medical profession, including acupuncture, relaxation therapy, sophrology and hypnosis.2