Guide to Chronic Pain and Management - Introduction
Guide to Chronic Pain and Management
Chronic pain is a condition that can drastically impact every aspect of one’s life, possibly leading to major depression, sleep problems, work loss, relationship and financial difficulties, and more. Even in relatively mild cases, chronic pain can reduce one’s quality and enjoyment of life – making it difficult to enjoy everyday activities, such as sports, shopping and excelling at work.
Because chronic pain can be so devastating and difficult to understand, it is critical to know all the options available for pain management.
In general, pain management is defined as a program designed by both a patient and his or her doctor to help relieve or reduce the chronic pain and give a person more freedom to live the life they want to lead. Pain management programs often include a wide range of options, ranging from exercise, pain medications, and injections, to alternative approaches such as hypnotism and biofeedback. Knowing the options for your pain management program is a good start to successful pain management.
This article provides an overview of what you need to know about pain management, including:
Most pain management techniques fall into three categories.
Noninvasive, non-drug pain management. Noninvasive pain management involves treatments that help relieve chronic pain without the use of drugs, medicine, or devices that pierce the skin. These approaches typically include a range of exercise and physical therapy techniques, chiropractic manipulation, changes in lifestyle, and other techniques.
Pharmacological pain management. Pharmacological pain management refers to using drugs and medicine to help relieve pain symptoms. These drugs can help relax muscles, decrease inflammation, interfere with how the brain receives or processes pain signals, or help fight depression or sleep problems related to the patient’s chronic pain.
Invasive pain management. Invasive pain management relies on instruments and devices being inserted into the body to help the healing process or relieve chronic pain. This is different from surgery – back surgery is typically more invasive and requires a greater degree of permanent change to the tissues of the body. Two of the more commonly used minimally invasive pain management techniques for chronic back pain include epidural steroid injections and spinal cord stimulators.
The best pain management program often requires a combination of two or more of these types of pain management – doing just one is usually not enough. Pain management is not an exact science, so finding the pain management approach that works best for you is most often a process of trial and error.
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