Techniques for Managing Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is described as persistent pain that lasts 12 weeks or longer. While there may be an originating cause, such as an injury or other illness, chronic pain can present without any other health issues.
Living with chronic pain can often interrupt normal life and can even lead to a total loss of interest in certain activities.
It can be difficult to diagnose chronic pain simply because individuals experience pain differently. However, tracking your symptoms will help with diagnosis and potential treatment plans.
Unfortunately, chronic pain can be accompanied by other symptoms. Often, individuals who suffer from chronic pain may also experience:
- Sleep disturbance
- Mood changes
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of flexibility
- Decrease strength
While chronic pain can certainly be disruptive, with proper treatment and therapy, it can be effectively managed.
Individuals who are on a treatment plan experience a variety of outcomes ranging from being virtually pain-free to coping with various levels of pain even with treatment. The results will vary person to person.
Chronic Pain Treatment Options
The long-term goal of chronic pain treatment is to manage the symptoms well enough that people can resume regular activity. While chronic pain cannot be cured, it can be effectively controlled via a variety of treatment options.
Choosing the best treatment plan will depend on many factors such as:
- How long the pain has lasted
- Pain location
- Cause of pain
- Severity of pain
Depending on the answers to the above criteria, your doctor will be able to help you create a plan that works best for you.
Pain medications are often used to treat chronic pain. Heavy duty painkillers known as opiates are used to treat severe pain.
However, this treatment option has a variety of side effects ranging from nausea and vomiting to an increased chance of developing an addiction. Because of a widespread of opiate addiction in recent years, doctors are becoming less and less likely to provide this treatment option as a first choice option.
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A variety of pain shots are offered to help curb specific pain sites. Doctors will use x-ray imaging to locate the exact area of pain and then administer shots directly to the area.
Steroids and local anesthetics are used to stop pain and inflammation. This option works best for back or knee pain. However other parts of the body may also benefit from this treatment plan.
Radiofrequency ablation targets the nerves near the pain site. A doctor will use a hot needle to penetrate near the nerves so that it no longer transmits the message of pain to your brain.
While the treatment doesn’t cure the pain, it can offer relief for up to one year.
Acupuncture and Massage
Acupuncture is the process of placing tiny needless on and around the impacted area of the body. Studies report that acupuncture is helpful in managing lower back pain and may even assist with painful joints brought on by arthritis.
Massages can provide temporary relief to those who suffer from chronic pain, specifically if it is located in the back.
Yoga is an excellent exercise that stretches stiff muscles, strengthens weakened muscles and can increase flexibility and movement in impacted areas.
Many factors could contribute to how your body experiences pain. Some of those things may include stress, depression, or how you contextualize your pain in general.
Cognitive therapy can help develop coping strategies and help treat any of the mental challenges that may contribute to your pain.
Choose What is Right for You
Chronic pain can make it challenging to enjoy regular activities in life.
If you suffer from chronic pain, you should discuss your treatment options with your doctor so you can come up with the best solution for your particular situation.
Keep in mind, not all treatment plans work for everybody, and there may be a period of trial and error until you find the best treatment option for managing your chronic pain.