What is Intractable Pain? Types of Pain, Causes, and Treatment

Home » Intractable Pain
Garry Stewart
Written By Shasta Wilson

April 20, 2023

Medical Condition- Intractable Pain - Types of pain, causes and treatment

Intractable pain refers to a pain that cannot be controlled and managed with standard medical care. The type of pain that is essentially challenging to treat or manage.

Such type of pain is not curable, so the focus of treating the health condition is to diminish the discomfort.

And the worst part of Intractable pain is that if the pain is constant and severe, you might be required to be hospitalized for the care.

Types of Pain

Based on the severity and several other factors, the pain tends to be categorized as

Acute Pain

Acute pain refers to a type of sudden pain that a person feels when a bone breaks down, or someone cuts themselves.

Such pain comes quickly but generally fades over a comparatively short period. However, sometimes such pain can lead to chronic pain.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is usually classified as pain lasting for at least three months. Such pain cannot be completely mitigated. In case a person has arthritis, over-the-counter pain medicine, and physical therapies may diminish the pain you feel.

Intractable Pain

Intractable pain is considered a severe form of chronic pain. But as chronic pain can be relieved with physical therapies or over-the-counter medicines, intractable pain is not so easily relieved or treated.

While requiring mild relief from the pains, the treatments may require some non-traditional treatments like medical marijuana.

Several health experts believe that the type of intractable pain differs from other pain types because a person’s brain processes intractable pain signals differently. That is why the intractable pain type is so resistant to the treatments.

Causes of Intractable Pain!

The intractable pain type can be developed from several other health issues. It can be felt in the bones, joints, muscles, and even the head.

The health conditions that can lead to intractable pain include:

This type of pain does not generally have a specific cause, making it even challenging and complicated to treat and diagnose.

What leads to unmanageable pain in one person may cause manageable pain in another.

This is because the effects, causes, and treatments vary from person to person, as every person’s body reacts differently.

How is Intractable Pain Diagnosed?

If a person experiences that the traditional pain relievers and chronic pain medications are ineffective, they need a doctor’s evaluation on priority.

However, it is essential to describe the symptoms appropriately and with complete details.

Also, diagnosing the cause of the health condition can be challenging. But if you experience chronic headaches on a routine, then you gotta see a doctor.

Generally, intractable pain is diagnosed over time when the various treatments fail to ease the pain.

For instance, after failing several non-injectable measures, one gets a corticosteroid injection. Or some other sort of pains also doesn’t even ease the pain, including the several medications type like

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Mild opioids
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anti-seizure medications
If the medications mentioned above or any other treatments like exercise, surgery, and physical therapies do not work for you, the medical doctor may diagnose your health condition with intractable pain.

Complications Involved

Intractable pain can affect the hormones like cortisol as the pain raises stress levels and inflammation in the body.

This can further contribute to other health issues like high blood pressure and a high pulse rate. This can also lead to sexual dysfunction.

The intractable pain type frequently interferes with sleep while making you feel fatigued. The constant pain and insufficient sleep can also make it challenging to concentrate and make decisions.

And along with interfering with thinking and interpersonal skills, intractable pain can also affect physical performance.

Treatments of Intractable Pain

Since the standard medical treatments don’t help with the intractable pain type, doctors try to incorporate more aggressive methods.

Ample states have separate laws defining intractable pain, and this also includes when it is permissible for the doctors to prescribe opioids or medical cannabis to relieve pain.

More often, a separate treatment plan is required to diminish the pain. You gotta see a doctor and discuss the same to get the best outcomes. When it comes to choosing a multidisciplinary plan, it can involve any of the following:

  • Opioids
  • Surgeries
  • Physical Therapy
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Nerve blocks

Also, some new treatments are providing some sort of hope to the intractable pain type.

For instance, Neurostimulator utilizes electricity to modify how your brain perceives pain.

Bottom Line!

Dealing with intractable pain often indicates that a person is trying various treatments to find relief from the pains.
If one approach doesn’t help with the health condition, you must work with your doctor to find relief from the same through some other resources.

Coping with the health condition also states that the person is often dealing with physical and emotional challenges. People with this form of pain are often at a higher risk of fatigue, depression, frequent crying episodes, and social isolation.

Due to this, getting a doctor’s advice with pain management treatment is essential for anyone struggling with a health condition.

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