Pain Management Research Paper

9051 Words 37 Pages
Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Pain Management
Kevin Cates
Hypothesis: TCM is an effective choice in pain management, specifically chronic pain and psychogenic pain of the lower back area.
Chronic Pain and Pain Management:
Chronic pain is a major health issue in our modern day society. It causes immense suffering for patients and their families, drains public health care resources and is a major detriment to society due to lost work productivity. Current western medical treatments are inadequate in addressing the problem. (1) TCM can offer several methods that can help relieve chronic pain.
The Institute of Medicine has estimated that chronic pain affects “approximately 100 million adults in the United States, with an estimated annual
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Recently, western science has come to believe that we experience physical pain through unique nervous system cell receptors, called ‘nociceptors’, that are located throughout the body in skin and body tissues. These receptors respond to stimuli such as tissue damage, inflammation, and injury that in turn is transmitted as a pain signal to the brain. The stimuli could also be toxic chemicals, intense light, sound, pressure or temperature. These receptors are the sensitive dendritic ends or end organs of sensory neurons. When a receptor potential achieves a certain threshold, it triggers an action potential in the sensory neuron 's axon. These signals then travel by sensory neuron pathways through electrical or chemical means in the spinal cord neurons, then through the interneurons of the spinal cord all the way to the brain. Here the signals are interpreted as pain.
The area in the brain these signals travel to is the thalamus, which then relays signals to cortical brain regions which process the nociceptor information creating a reaction or experience
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The mechanism of how they work to reduce pain is not clear, however it is thought that they may block the flow of pain signals from the central nervous system. As with Tricyclic, they must be taken on a daily basis to provide results.. They seem to work best when utilized in nerve pain control such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia and fibromyalgia. Some side effects include: dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, confusion, skin rash, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss or gain, swollen feet. Slow withdrawal is recommended to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, nausea, pain, sweating and insomnia.
Surgical Options
WM looks to surgery when LBP continues for over 2 months and the patient fails to respond to conventional treatment of pharmaceutical medications, heat application, massage or physical therapy. Continuing pain and numbness is then perceived as being caused by musculoskeletal injuries or compressed nerves in the spine due to:
1) Disk problems: a ruptured (herniated) or bulging disc, the rubbery material separating

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