5 Trusted Treatments for Chronic Pain
Everyday life is hard enough without having to endure chronic pain. Aches and pains that never subside can be annoying at the minimum and debilitating at worst. As we age, the aches and pain come regularly, so it’s important to have regular checkups and know what’s minor and what is cause for concern. The treatments for chronic pain are as diverse as the illnesses that cause them. Options are available, depending on what’s hurting you and how severe it is.
Prescription and OTC Medication
The most obvious route is to try managing the pain with medication. Start with some over-the-counter painkillers and see if that helps. If it doesn’t, then visit your physician and describe your symptoms. They will put you through a series of tests and determine what the best course of action is. Doctors are hesitant to prescribe heavy painkillers for fear of addiction. If that is a concern for you, then share that from the outset.
An ultrasound is not just for diagnosing bone breaks and diseases and checking on babies in utero. It is a highly effective treatment for chronic pain. The sound waves emitted from the probe can massage strained muscles and help them relax. It’s a noninvasive method, free of drugs, to help manage pain.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections treat painful areas of muscle that have trigger points, or knots, that form when the muscles can’t relax. A doctor will use a small needle to inject a local anesthetic that sometimes includes a steroid into the trigger point. The trigger point is rendered inactive, and the pain goes away. Doctors usually will recommend a series of injections that will result in sustained relief.
Spinal Cord Stimulation Implants
When physical therapy and medications fail to deliver pain relief, surgical implants are a possibility in cases of chronic back pain. In spinal cord stimulation, electrical signals are sent to the spinal cord or to specific nerves to block the pain signals from reaching the brain. A small device is implanted in the body, and the patient is given a remote control to adjust the intensity of the signals.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Therapy
Also known as TENS, this therapy uses electrical stimulation to block pain signals. It differs from implants in that it doesn’t involve surgery or implanting foreign objects in the body. Electrodes placed on the skin near the affected area supply low-voltage electrical currents. The electricity stimulates the nerves and sends signals to the brain that scramble normal pain signals.