When you find yourself in pain, nothing else really matters. Whether it’s a strong sensation or a dull ache that doesn’t stop, pain interferes with your quality of life – it interferes with your ability to function normally and enjoy life. Yet millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain. In fact, pain is a way of life and pain management doctors play an important role in helping to bring pain to a manageable level and even eliminate it.
Every day 1 out of 4 Americans suffer from pain to the degree that it interferes with concentration, work, sleep, socialization and exercise. Chronic pain can cause loss of self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and leave sufferers in isolation.
Pain management doctors often prescribe pain medication, but they also combine the use of pain medications with other types of treatments.
Let’s look at 4 strategies that your pain management doctors might recommend in addition to drug therapy.
#1 Trigger Point Joint Injections
Trigger point injections are considered an excellent treatment option when there is a trigger
point as is often the case with tension headaches, fibromyalgia and myofascial pain. A pain management doctor will use a tiny needle for the injection. When the needle reaches the trigger point it will cause a twitch to happen and the numbing medication is then injected along with the steroid/nonsteroidal medication. Most of the time this will relieve the pain immediately and it lasts up to 12 hours. The injections can be given every couple of weeks.
There are other types of injections such as joint injections that are used to treat other areas of the body.
Acupuncutre has been around for thousands of years, originating in China. Modern day acupuncture uses electrical stimulation to achieve the same benefits. IT can be used to treat conditions such as scar tissue pain, muscle spasms, and chronic radiating pain of different types. Acupuncture can bring balance to the body.
TENS is short for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, which is a device that sends out low voltage electrical currents used in pain management. The electrodes are placed on the skin where the pain is and the electrical current stimulates the nerve, which then sends a signal to the brain to close the pain gate. It is believed TENS works by blocking the nerve path.
#4 Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments or after surgery. Physical therapy helps to create balance, flexibility and strength. The exercises can generally be practiced at home too.
#5 Epidural Steroid Injections
Cortisone is placed in the epidural space to bring relief from pain and to reduce inflammation. Often used in the case of a pinched nerve, sciatica, spinal stenosis from arthritis, or herniated disc. This is done as an outpatient procedure. Your pain management doctors use a fluoroscope to locate the correct placement of the needle and your medication is injected. The steroid your pain doctor uses will vary depending on what he/she thinks is best for your situation.
There are many different treatments that can be used in addition to your medications.