If you suffer from chronic pain, you may be familiar with the concept of breakthrough pain. Breakthrough pain is a sharp spike in pain. An example of this would be if you do something that activates extra pain, for instance standing up too fast after back surgery and feeling a sudden and painful tweak in your lower back.
Often times, breakthrough pain occurs without any obvious cause. This can sometimes indicate that patients need to revise their medication regimen so that it covers both the chronic pain as well as the breakthrough pain.
A study published in the Journal of Opioid Management determined that breakthrough pain is highly prevalent in noncancer patients, which came as a bit of a surprise because it is typically associated with cancer patients.
Breakthrough pain can occur for no clear reason. Alternatively it can occur and can be activated by things like coughing, exercising moving after his surgical procedure using the restroom or even simple movements like getting dressed in the morning. It can also occur because the narcotic the pain sufferer is taking is wearing off for their tolerance is too high.
Whatever the reason, breakthrough pain can attack very suddenly, without any warning and can reach a peak intensity very quickly, often times when three minutes.
Typical episodes last between 30 to 60 minutes.
According to a American Pain Foundation study, individuals who take opioid painkillers experience breakthrough pain on average twice a day.
The National Pain Foundation estimates that over 80% of chronic pain sufferers who are taking medications for their pain will experience breakthrough pain.
Research still needs to be done to understand the origins and best options for the treatment of chronic pain. Advances in pain management are occurring frequently, so chronic pain sufferers should be comforted to know that there is research being done to discover an effective remedy.
If you are experiencing breakthrough pain, it is best to consult with your physician to discuss treatment options.