If you are suffering from pain, contact our office today for pain management and learn more about how we can help you.
Pain is the body’s way of warning you that something is wrong. The tightness, tingling or stiffness in the body may indicate damaged or overworked nerves and muscles. Pain that lasts for more than three months is regarded as chronic.
Causes of Chronic Pain
- Chemicals – Your brain consists of chemicals that suppress pain. If these brain chemicals are not functioning properly, you experience ongoing pain.
- Damaged Neurons – When your central nervous system is damaged, you suffer from neurogenic pain.
- Psychogenic Factors – If you are experiencing a mental or emotional issue, like stress from your relationship or work, this may trigger the perception of chronic pain.
- Psychological Factors – Chronic pain may be caused by a psychiatric illness or personality traits that are manifested as physical pain.
- Diseases – Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia are some of the main diseases associated with chronic pain. Ailments, like stomach ulcers, multiple sclerosis, cancer, gall bladder disease and AIDS, are also well-known culprits. A weak immune system is also vulnerable to chronic pain brought about by illnesses or infections.
- Age – Conditions, such as diabetes, come with age and may lead to nerve and joint destruction, which causes chronic pain that requires pain management.
- Lifestyle and Diet – A lifestyle of dependence on alcohol, smoking, junk foods, and poor health habits may slow the healing process and cause chronic pain if you happen to suffer from an injury or infection.
Methods for Diagnosing Chronic Pain
- CT Scan – Computed Tomography (CT) is the use of x-rays and computers to develop an image of the injured part of the body. During the scan, the patient is required to lie on a table that moves through a scanning device.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging – MRI is a technique used to develop a clear image of the body without using x-rays. The process involves the use of radio waves, a large magnet, and computer to develop images.
- Discography – During this procedure, a dye is injected into the spinal disc thought to be the cause of back pain. The dye shows the damaged sections of the spine on x-rays.
- Bone Scans – These scans are used for monitoring and diagnosing fractures, infections, and other bone disorders. During this procedure, a radioactive solution is injected into the patient’s blood stream. This solution will be accumulated in the injured areas. Scanner images appear on the computer showing the areas with abnormal bone metabolism or blood flow.
- Ultrasound – This method of pain management employs sound waves to obtain images of the patient’s body. The sound waves are recorded and shown as a visual image.
Medications for Chronic Pain
The common types of pain medication include:
- Antidepressants – These are used to alleviate pain and improve sleep
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen
- Steroids like prednisone and dexamethasone, which help alleviate pain and inflammation
- Anti-seizure medications are effective for pain management when it comes to pain associated with injury or nerve damage
Treatment Options for Chronic Pain
- Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese treatment technique has been around for the past 2,000 years. Acupuncture involves inserting small needles into different points of a patient’s skin to help regulate movement in the meridian system of the body. Many studies have confirmed that acupuncture works in treating chronic pain. Furthermore, the World Health Organization has endorsed acupuncture as one of the effective treatments for chronic pain.
- Bio Feedback – This is a technique aimed at teaching the patient to control bodily functions like muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate. The concept of this method is that when one is aware of these body functions and how they react to pain, he or she can control them to counter pain symptoms. Biofeedback helps patients relax, and this helps reduce pain symptoms that are aggravated by stress.
- Chiropractic Care – This technique of pain management mainly focuses on the patient’s spine and involves realigning the spine. Chiropractic is effective for various pain syndromes such as neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, and carpal tunnel pain.
- Massage – This technique is used to heal various types of pain by manipulating a patient’s body tissues. Massage influences a patient’s circulation, muscles, nervous, and lymphatic systems. Studies have shown that this treatment is effective for chronic pain on the lower back.
- Relaxation Techniques – In some cases, chronic pain is caused by stress. When you are stressed, your body goes into flight mode, and this increases your heart rate and blood pressure and stiffens your muscles. This chain of reactions can destroy your musculoskeletal systems and internal organs. Relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and meditation, are used to reduce stress. Studies show that relaxation therapy as part of pain management can help reduce pain symptoms.
Tips for Living with Chronic Pain
- Support Groups – Join a group of people who are suffering from chronic pain and understand what you are going through. Support groups will provide you with wisdom and encouragement for handling your pain. Your doctor can suggest groups for you if you need one.
- Balanced Diet – Besides avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, a balanced diet can also reduce chronic pain. A balanced diet reduces your risk of getting heart disease, keeps your weight in check, and controls your blood glucose levels.
- Exercises – The best way to get natural endorphins is through exercising. Endorphins are chemicals in your brain that improve mood and block pain signals. Exercising also strengthens your muscles and helps prevent further pain and re-injury. Exercising is also crucial in reducing the risk of heart diseases and controlling weight and blood glucose levels.
For more tips on pain management, feel free to contact our office today to schedule a consultation. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding our diagnostic process or our treatment options. We look forward to helping you achieve a pain-free life!