What is Chronic Pain?
Pain usually occurs when we experience a muscular tear or any other kind of injury in any part of the body. This occurs suddenly and may vanish away in few days as it may recover on itself or through using ointments or other pain reliever drugs. This is called acute pain.
On the other hand, pain in any part of the body that lasts more than a few months or may even last for years is known as chronic pain.
This is the result of either a long-term injury or other damage to the body, that may occur due to age factors.
Chronic pain is a dangerous medical issue as it may lead to reduced quality of sleep, depression, mood swings, irritation, exhaustion, anxiety and lack of stamina to perform daily activities.
In case you are experiencing chronic pain in any part of your body, you must pay close attention to the problem and try to treat it before it goes out of hand.
Treatments For Chronic Pain
The following treatment options help in improving and regulating chronic pain:
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): This is a widely adopted treatment option for treating chronic pain. In this procedure, the nerves that carry the signals of pain to the nervous system are targeted.
When you undergo this treatment, your doctor will first identify the nerve/s that is causing pain and sends the pain signals to the nervous system. Once identified, X-rays may be used to focus on the area where the medical needle is to be placed.
This procedure is done under the influence of a local anesthesia where the doctor after realizing where the needle is to be placed, removes or destroys the nerve tissue causing the pain thus hindering the pain signals from reaching the brain.
Pain Shots: These are simple steroid shots that are injected directly into the areas causing pain. These steroid shots are injected in combination with local anesthetics for better relief where local anesthetics help in the numbing the nerve, and steroid shots help in lowering inflammation.
The different types of pain shot available include:
Nerve Root Blocks: These are pain shots that are most suitable for pain in the legs or arms and focus on the nerve that is present along the spine.
Trigger Point Shots: These are injections that are injected into the tight spots or stiffer spots in the muscles. The tight spots are dangerous as they may lead to pressing of nerves to an extent that it also causes pain in other parts of the body.
Opioids: Opioids are types of drugs that are referred to as narcotics and help in relieving pain by targeting the nervous system. These drugs help in hindering the pain signals sent to the brain but must be used appropriately in prescribed quantities.
The most beneficial opioids for treating chronic pain include Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Buprenorphine, Codeine, Hydrocodone, and Methadone.
The only harm involved with opioids is the kind of side effects that are associated with them. Some of such side effects include drowsiness, constipation, and queasiness. One of the serious side effects associated with opioids is an addiction which occurs as a result of consuming these drugs for an extended period.
Anti-Depressants: Anti-depressants do not directly relate to treating chronic pain, but help in treating certain types of chronic pain indirectly.
The types of chronic pain that can be treated using anti-depressants include lower back pain, facial pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, arthritis and nerve pains.
How antidepressants work for treating chronic pain is still not clear but it is believed that it helps in augmenting neurotransmitters in the spinal cord, which in turn hinder the pain signals sent over to the brain. The relief is not immediate, but over a period of several weeks of usage, you’ll gradually notice the relief from pain.
The most effective type of antidepressants that help alleviate chronic pain is the tricyclic antidepressants. Some of the most commonly used antidepressants include Amitriptyline, Doxepin, Imipramine, and Desipramine.
Other Therapies: These are natural treatment options for reducing chronic pain and are widely adopted by a lot of people suffering from chronic pain.
Physical therapy involves identifying of points where the pain occurs, and then applying cold or heat packs on the area that is causing the pain. This may reduce the inflammation to a great extent.
Another physical therapy could be acupuncture, where tiny needles are embedded into the skin where the pain occurs. This helps in reducing the pain related to joints, or the lower back area by releasing endorphins that hinder the pain signals from reaching the brain.
Another therapy that can be helpful involves physical exercise technique which involves adopting special types of exercise that differ from person to person and from pain area to pain area. These exercise techniques help in increasing the tolerance towards the pain and eventually reduces it.
Do not ignore your chronic pain. Consult your doctor and go for a suitable treatment option for better relief from chronic pain.