5 Ways for Efficient Chronic Pain Treatment
Pain is essential to life, it’s the way your body is telling you something is wrong. We all feel pain from time to time, but then it heals and the pain goes away. Sometimes, however, pain persists or progresses over a long period of time, and just doesn’t seem to go away.
Do I have chronic pain?
Chronic pain is any pain that lasts for more than 3 months or otherwise 6 months since onset. This means that the pain outlasts the usual healing time. When pain is chronic, it may be there for months and even years, even if it comes and goes, and this can have effects on your life.
The severity of chronic pain varies, from mild to severe. Depending on the cause, it can feel like a dull ache, soreness, stiffness, throbbing, shooting and more.
What is the cause of my chronic pain?
The causes of chronic pain are different, and you will not always know the exact cause. If chronic pain starts after an injury or a trauma to the body, it is easier to know the cause but it can also be caused by nerve damage or degenerative disease.
What are some options for chronic pain treatment?
Treatments for chronic pain depend on the severity of the pain, the underlying cause, and the location of the pain.
5 categories for efficient chronic pain treatment are self-care, exercises, various therapies, medications, and interventional techniques. It’s not necessary to choose only one treatment option, and your primary care doctor or specialist may suggest a combination of different treatments.
1. Self-care with a pain relief device
Nowadays self-care luckily includes home-use pain relief devices that were previously available only in advanced medical clinics. RF technology has been used for pain relief in medical settings, in some cases involving a needle that goes through the skin, delivering RF to target nerve cells.
Safe and effective Solio pain relief device presented innovative technology to the FDA, making Solio Alfa Plus the first RF pain management device to be FDA-cleared for pain relief. Placed on the site of pain, noninvasive and painless RF and IR penetrate deep into the skin tissues, producing heat and increasing blood circulation around the treatment area to relieve pain and accelerate the healing process. Even in severe cases when medications are still needed, pain relief may reduce the medications required for pain management.
Home device units also include TENS and LLLT (LED / Soft laser) technologies. TENS units are helpful for manipulating pain, but although they may alleviate pain in some instances, the relief is only temporary and the pain returns. LLLT devices didn’t show any relief to inner tissues, although they are effective for skin treatment.
Exercises are a form of self-care, but they have an important place of their own. Physical exercise is so important for chronic pain relief because inactivity leads to weakness, decreased mobility, and stiffness. These, in turn, can worsen the symptoms of chronic pain. Also, exercising can help improve mental health and overall health.
If you have chronic pain in your neck or back, stretching can relieve it and improve mobility. In addition to stretching, strength exercises are important for stabilization and injury prevention. Core strength is especially important to maintain proper posture and stability and prevent future injuries.
Various types of therapy are offered for chronic pain treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help with pain relief. It helps people to change their awareness of pain and develop better-coping skills and an ability to view pain differently. This may be true even if the severity of pain remains the same. It can also change the physical response to the pain, such as the stress that chronic and causes and improve it.
Another common therapy for chronic pain treatment is physical therapy (physiotherapy) which is believed to effectively treat patients with chronic pain. It is often aimed at enhancing the patient’s capacity for functional movement and reduction of pain.
Relaxation therapy is sometimes helpful, especially since chronic stress is one factor that contributes to chronic pain. There are many relaxation techniques, depending on what appeals to the patient. Some find visualization to be helpful, others choose meditation and breathing or even music or prayer.
Different medications can help to reduce pain and help in chronic pain treatment. There are both oral and topical therapies for the treatment of chronic pain, as well as injections. However, ways that don’t involve the daily intake of medications are preferred in the long term.
As far as oral medications go, some common over-the-counter drugs may be very effective, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, especially for mild to moderate pain. Be aware that when taken for an extended period of time or in large quantities, they may have negative effects.
Opioids are used for chronic pain relief, such as Fentanyl and Hydrocodone (Vicodin) or Oxycodone (OxyContin). They may be very effective in controlling chronic pain. However, they also have side effects, the most serious of which are addiction and overdose. The risk of addiction increases the longer you use them.
Also available are medications that can be applied to the skin, by cream, ointment or patch.
Generally, your primary physician, specialist, or pharmacist can help answer any questions regarding the benefits, dosage, and side effects related to the medications you are taking.
5. Interventional Techniques
Pain shots are another option for chronic pain treatment. Most injections for chronic pain treatment are performed on an outpatient basis. Different types include trigger point injections to the painful muscles, facet joints injections to provide relief for neck and back pain, nerve root blocks, or epidural steroid injections targeted to place anti-inflammatory steroid into the epidural space close to the inflamed area.
The medical intervention depends on the type of pain, the source of the pain, and the severity of the situation. Sometimes, a doctor may suggest to implant a pain pump in your body where it releases medications as needed.
Other interventional techniques can be invasive procedures and even surgery in extreme cases.
Taking an active role in the treatment is generally beneficial for chronic pain patients. Pain therapy should have a multidisciplinary approach, depending on what’s most effective for the patient. Self-care, through the use of home pain relief devices, therapy, exercises and more may be very effective. Alternative ways include methods such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, reiki healing and more. Always talk to your doctor, especially if your symptoms worsen, or if you think you are having side effects, but generally, the rule of thumb is: it’s good if it helps alleviate the pain.