Chronic pain refers to pain that lasts for more than just a few months and, if you have it, it’s important to find the best treatment option to manage it. Left untreated, chronic pain can be a disabling condition that interferes with both your ability to work and your quality of life.
There are many factors that go into figuring out what chronic pain treatment is right. Consider some of the different things that you and the doctor will take into account when creating a pain management plan and the options available.
What is Causing Your Pain?
The doctor will want to identify your pain type and then develop a treatment plan based on the pain symptoms, so it starts with asking you a few questions:
- How long have you had this pain?
- Can you rate the pain on a scale of one to 10
- How would you describe the pain? Is it cramping or does it feel more like a stabbing kind of pain?
- Where do you feel the pain?
From there, you can get an idea of what is causing your pain and how to manage it. Different pain signals respond to different treatment options.
What are the Treatment Options for Chronic Pain?
There Are Drug Options
Most likely the best way to treat your chronic pain is by combining several different treatment options. It might start with drug therapy. Medications prescribed for pain generally fall into one of these categories:
- NSAIDS — This would include over the counter drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen
- Acetaminophen – That’s Tylenol
- Antidepressants — They can improve sleep and alleviate some kinds of pain
- Anti-seizure medications — Used for nerve injuries
- Steroids — To reduce swelling
- Muscle Relaxants — Used more for injuries than chronic pain management
In some situations, medication is provided, not as a pill but in another form. For example:
- A nerve root block targets the nerve pathway in the spine to eliminate pain that doesn’t respond to other medication
- Epidural steroid injections are effective for back problems
- Trigger point injections loosen tight muscles that can cause chronic pain
With radiofrequency neuroablation, the doctor uses heat to target problem nerves. A special kind of needle is put near the misbehaving nerve. The tip of the needle heats up and zaps the problem away.
Physiotherapy is a long-term approach to managing pain and usually recommended along with a drug therapy plan. The right exercises improve the muscles enough to make the pain go away for good.
Alternative Pain Management Options
Along with taking a medical approach to managing your pain, the doctor might suggest some alternative treatments that can help you deal with the pain. Something like a chiropractic massage can relax the muscles that knot up and trigger pain. Combined with other treatment options like a low-dose steroid injection or nerve block, massage therapy helps keep pain in check.
What About Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic care begins with effective pain relief and then works to correct the underlying problem to eliminate the pain altogether. Chiropractic manipulations are a practical choice for many types of chronic pain.
If you live in Arizona and suffer from chronic pain, help is just down the street. BackFit Spine + Health has offices throughout the state and specializes in chronic pain management. Give us a call to schedule an appointment and find out what we can do to help you get relief from your pain.