Pain control is achieved primarily through the use of drugs or through psychological approaches. Anesthetic and opiate drugs block pain signals to the brain or inhibit certain chemicals involved in the electrical pain impulses. Aspirin, the most widely used form of pharmaceutical pain control, works on the injured tissue itself by blocking the synthesis of prostaglandins, thus reducing the amount of pain impulses received by the pain receptors.
Psychological approaches to reduce pain by increasing an individual's pain threshold and tolerance were largely developed for chronic pain sufferers, but may also work in cases of acute pain. One such method involves focusing the attention on something other than the pain, such as a past pleasant experience, music, or even a complex mathematical problem. Relaxation and meditation techniques are used to reduce stress and muscle tension that may increase feelings of pain. Exercise can also help reduce pain because it causes the brain to produce more endorphins.
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