Chronic pain affects the lives of nearly 50 million people throughout the US and according to a recent study, only little over half the people suffering from chronic pain are able the successfully manage their symptoms. The rest often resign themselves to very limited lifestyle that is restricted by chronic pain.
September has been declared Pain Awareness Month by the American Chronic Pain Association to spread awareness about this condition through mass media and other forums so chronic pain can be better understood and fittingly treated without any of the traditional stigma that is often attached to it.
Those suffering with chronic pain shouldn’t simply try to heroically “tough it out.” With the advances in pain management, there are several treatment options that might help successfully alleviate chronic pain. These include:
- Pain-relieving medication: Pain relievers such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and analgesics can significantly reduce pain sensations and are relatively safe, but not completely risk-free. You should use them only as recommended by your doctor.
- Anti-depressant medication: As living with chronic pain has been known to cause depression, anti-depressants may also be prescribed. In fact, many drugs that have been cleared by the FDA for treatment of depression also have pain-relieving properties.
- Anti-convulsant medication: These medications, which were originally developed to treat epilepsy, have been found to effectively treat chronic pain caused by nerve damage.
- Opioids: Also known as narcotics, are very potent prescription medications and can be administered as pills, patches, injection, or implantable pumps. Opioids treatments are carefully monitored by a doctor or pain specialist.
- Nerve stimulation: Small jolts of electricity can be used to target certain nerves and effectively block the transmission of pain signals. This can be done by using a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit or an implantable device.
- Physical therapy: As part of a permanent solution for the problem of chronic pain, you may have to work with a physical therapist or an occupational therapist to strengthen your musculoskeletal system and modify activities that cause pain.
- Alternative treatments: Cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and massage therapy may also be helpful when dealing with chronic pain.
Arthritis or a longstanding musculoskeletal injury are common conditions associated with chronic pain. Don’t let such conditions limit your lifestyle. Visit your doctor or the specialists at The Carrell Clinic to effectively manage your pain.