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Types of Chronic Pain Treatment
You might need chronic pain treatment if you have been dealing with pain that does not go away for over three months. The pain might be persistent or appear sporadically. It can affect any part of the body. Chronic pain is typically not something you can ignore or tough out. It interferes with your daily activities like fitness, work, and social activities. People with chronic pain sometimes have difficulty falling asleep, and it can also lead to anxiety and depression, which creates a vicious cycle that is tough to break out of.
Popular chronic pain treatment options
Chronic pain should not be confused with acute pain – the pain you experience after an injury like a cut. That type of pain does not last long and goes away once your body heals. However, chronic pain lingers long after whatever illness or injury caused it. Chronic pain does not always have an obvious cause.
Chronic pain can manifest in various ways based on the cause. Some of the more common types of chronic pain include:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Cancer pain
- Muscle pain
- Neurogenic pain
- Testicular pain
The first step toward chronic pain treatement is identifying its root cause. Pain is classified as chronic when it lasts longer than three months. It is usually a symptom of a bigger issue, but that is not always the case.
The healthcare provider will examine the patient during their appointment and ask them to describe things like the frequency, intensity, and location of the pain. They will also go over its effect on the patient’s daily activities and things that help or make it worse.
Physical examinations, blood tests, spinal fluid tests, urine tests, reflex and balance tests, nerve conduction tests, and imaging tests might be requested to help with the diagnosis.
The most effective chronic pain treatment plans combine various strategies like physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication. Some of the treatment options that might be recommended once the healthcare provider makes a diagnosis include:
Drugs like anticonvulsants, muscle relaxers, corticosteroids, opioids, and antidepressants can help with chronic pain and its side effects. However, this approach only helps with the pain and typically does not address its root cause. Other types of treatments are needed to get to the source of the pain to provide a long-lasting solution.
2. Chiropractic care
Chiropractic care involves using techniques like joint manipulation and spinal stimulation to provide a long-lasting solution for chronic pain. It provides a holistic approach to chronic pain management that aims to improve how a patient’s body works as a whole.
During these treatments, a chiropractor uses special instruments or hands to manipulate a patient’s joints. It aims to improve your body’s alignment and function, which often helps to reduce chronic pain. For example, sciatica pain is caused by the sciatic nerve being compressed by spinal bones. Adjusting these bones reduces the pressure put on the nerve, alleviating any pain caused by it. This is the approach chiropractic care takes toward helping patients to put chronic pain behind them.
3. Nerve blocks
This approach involves injecting sources of chronic pain with anesthetics to reduce sensation in the area. Nerve blocks are also used to pinpoint the origin of a patient’s pain and other diagnostic information. Nerve blocks fall under two categories: surgical and non-surgical.
Surgical nerve blocks involve procedures like neurectomies or rhizotomies. A patient’s damaged nerve tissues are destroyed during these treatments in hopes of bringing a patient’s chronic pain to an end. Such treatments are typically performed when other options have failed.
Non-surgical nerve blocks involve using needles guided by a CT scan or ultrasound to reach the source of a patient’s pain and inject it with an anesthetic.
4. Lifestyle changes/physical therapy
There are four main lifestyle factors that can help to minimize or end chronic pain. These are:
- Exercise: Light exercises like swimming or walking at a leisurely pace can help to reduce pain. It can also help to reduce stress levels which can worsen chronic pain and its symptoms. Stretching regularly provides benefits as well for people with chronic pain. It can help to relieve the pressure put on nerves, reducing pain. Consult with a chiropractor or other qualified professional before starting an exercise program since some movements and stretches can worsen things
- Stress: Stress can considerably exacerbate chronic pain. Reducing your stress levels with deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and meditation can lessen pain
- Sleep: Getting enough sleep helps with stress management and managing a healthy weight, which helps reduce pain
- Diet: A healthy diet that contains lots of anti-inflammatory foods can help with chronic pain. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation like carbohydrates and red meat also helps
Put chronic pain behind you
Tired of chronic pain impacting your quality of life? Call or visit our Ooltewah office to set up a consultation.
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