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Pain more than just a sensation

Palliative medicine is the discipline that deals with relieving pain, particularly for people with untreatable conditions, including cancer, towards the end of their life. It is a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates pharmacology, radiotherapy, psychiatry and rehabilitation. Pain is a purely subjective experience which can be influenced by sensation, cognition, emotion (depression, anxiety, fear, anger), delirium, conscious state, family, support and spiritual concepts. Therefore a holistic approach to pain control geared to suit the patient and their needs results in its optimal control. Somatization is the projection of emotional distress as physical symptoms, including pain, which is common in times of stress and can also be classified as a mental disorder (somatoform disorder). The reality of impending death and fear of the unknown contribute to, and hinder pain control. If psychological factors influencing pain are not addressed through counselling, this can set up a vicious cycle of inefficient overuse of opioid analgesics that cause no decrease in pain, hallucinations, sedation, confusion, and delirium, which in turn attribute to anxiety and continuing perception of pain. Coping strategies, behavioral modification, family therapy, and cognitive therapy should always be a component of palliative care and considered in any treatment of pain.

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Red Nova

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About: Pain more than just a sensation

Date: 15 July 2005

Source: Red Nova


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