Pain Archive

Articles

When walking becomes a pain

Walking may be hampered for a number of reasons, such as arthritis, a joint sprain, or muscle strain. Most often people already have pain from these conditions even before they begin walking. But individuals who are pain-free and then experience pain when walking that gets worse as they walk faster or longer could suffer from one of three conditions: peripheral artery disease, sciatica, or lumbar spinal stenosis. Ironically, the best strategy for any of these is to keep walking and staying as active as possible.

The perception of pain

Most people experience occasional acute musculoskeletal pain as part of daily living, such as an injury caused by exercising or a minor household accident. Acute pain is short-term and often becomes manageable with home remedies and over-the-counter medication. However, when symptoms persist there is greater chance that it will become chronic pain, which lasts two to three months or longer. That's when medical advice is needed.

The importance of stretching

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, which is needed to maintain a range of motion in the joints. If possible one should stretch daily, focusing on the lower extremities. It's important to stretch after a workout, not before.

Acetaminophen safety: Be cautious but not afraid

The pain reliever acetaminophen is safe when used correctly, but people can become very ill or die if they take too much.

Is that dental pain an emergency?

Tooth, gum, or jaw pain can stem from many health problems. For example, tooth pain can result from a cavity, cracked filling, or an infection. Gum pain can come from irritation due to tooth brushing, food, dentures, gum disease, or infection. Jaw pain can be triggered by disorders of the temporomandibular joint, narrowed heart arteries, or even a heart attack. All persistent tooth, gum, and jaw pain should prompt a call to a dentist as soon as possible. Sudden neck or lower jaw pain can signal an emergency and warrants a call to 911, especially in a person with known heart problems.

Pill-free pain treatments that won't break the bank

Many strategies that reduce chronic pain are activities that support a healthy lifestyle. Examples include exercise, meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness, yoga, tai chi, stretching, sleeping seven to nine hours per night, staying socially connected, and managing stress. There are lots of free or low-cost ways to practice the activities or get better at them, such as apps, online videos, classes, and support groups. Strategies that require a little financial investment include physical therapy, dietitian services, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, in-person exercise classes, and talk therapy.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.