Options for Chronic Pain Treatment
Identify the source of the pain together with your doctor in order to put together a treatment plan that takes into consideration a complete picture of your overall health and lifestyle.
Over-the-counter and prescription medications are often implemented as part of person's treatment plan. A combination of treatments is often most effective. Medications may be used with physical therapy, exercise, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, and psychological counseling.
Over-the-counter medications include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen. Topical creams may also be used for arthritis and muscle aches.
If a stronger medication is necessary, your doctor may prescribe Prescription medications that include nonopioids, such as aspirin, NSAIDs, and acetaminophen as well as opioids, such as morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. Adjuvant analgesics such as antidepessants and anticonvulsants may also be useful.
If the pain is not improved by oral medications, your doctor may recommend trying a surgical implant. There are different implants including an infusion pain pump the delivers medication directly where it is required. Additionally, spinal cord stimulation may provide relief through the use of electricity to change pain signals sent to the brain.
Trigger point injections may be used to inject a local anesthetic into a special type of tender area within the muscle. These injections may also contain a steroid. These are usually found in people with fibromyalgia, chronic pelvic pain, and myofascial pain syndrome.
Alternative therapies include cognitive therapies, behavioral therapies, and physical therapies. These types of therapy allow people to take a control of their own pain management.
Exercise and relaxation techniques including meditation, massage, and yoga may also provide relief. Acupuncture may be useful as it manipulates key points in the body. Biofeedback is used to enhance a person's awareness of physical changes. Additionally, TENS uses electricity to interrupt pain signals, triggering the release of endorphins. Finally, Cannabis may also be beneficial. Though controversial, recent research has made people more aware of the medicinal properties of cannabis.