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Different Treatments for Pain Management ”
Pain can be the consequence of various factors, and likewise, the treatments for pain are also as diverse. Ranging from over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs to mind or body techniques, there are various approaches to treating pain.
Sometimes chronic pain cannot be treated using a particular method so, a combination of different treatments is used to treat it. This article will talk about the various treatments used for managing pain and treating it. Pain management specialists Maryland can help regarding different treatments for pain management.
Mild pains can be relieved by using over-the-counter medications that contain acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs. Both are known for relieving pain caused due to muscle stiffness. Along with this, NSAIDs are also known for reducing inflammation, swelling, and irritation.
Non-prescription drugs come in other forms like creams, lotion, and sprays as well. These are applied to the skin of the area affected by pain to relieve inflammation caused by sore muscles or even arthritis.
If the non-prescription drugs are not providing relief, the physicians prescribe more potent medicines. These include muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant drugs for musculoskeletal pain, NSAIDs, and short courses of strong painkillers containing oxycodone and acetaminophen or hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
For more severe cases, a strictly controlled quantity of steroid injections is also used. They are used for reducing inflammation and swelling. Epidurals are also given for spinal stenosis or lower back pain.
Patient Controlled Analgesia
It is another method of controlling pain. PCA involves the use of a computerized pump, and the patient controls it by pushing a button. It allows self-administration of a premeasured dose of medicine infused with opioids.
The pump is connected with a small tube that injects the medicines intravenously, in the spine, or subcutaneously. It is mostly used in hospitals for treating post-traumatic, post-surgical, or terminal cancer pain.
Muscles under a continuous contraction state develop specific trigger points or knots due to not relaxing for long periods. Health professionals use this procedure to treat the painful areas caused by trigger points or knots.
The procedure involves using a small needle that injects a local anesthetic, which sometimes includes a steroid or sterile saltwater. This injection makes the trigger point inactive. The pain is then alleviated. Usually, brief courses of this treatment result in sustained relief.
Surgery is a rare resort for pain relief, and it is only performed when other treatment methods fail to provide relief. There are two types of implants for controlling pain:
Intrathecal Drug Delivery
It is also known by the name of infusion pain pumps or spinal drug delivery systems. The procedure involves the physician making a pocket in the skin.
This pocket is made big enough so it can hold a medicine pump. A catheter is also inserted, responsible for carrying the medicine from the pump into the spinal cord’s intrathecal space.
Since the pain signals travel to the spinal cord, intrathecal drug delivery provides significant pain control. In addition to this, it has fewer side effects than oral medications because a lesser amount of medicine is required for controlling pain.
Spinal Cord Stimulatory Implants
This procedure involves giving the spinal cord or some other nerves low-level electrical signals that block the pain signals from reaching the brain. Spinal cord stimulation implants are usually used for back and limb pain.
A device is implanted in the body for delivering the electrical signals, and the remote control allows the patient to control the intensity and turn it ON or OFF. These systems are available in two types:
- A unit that is fully implanted and consists of a pulse generator and a non-rechargeable battery. It is used more commonly.
- Another system is used, which has an antenna, transmitter, and receiver. All of these rely on radiofrequency. This system’s antenna and transmitter are carried outside, whereas the receiver is implanted inside the body.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation uses electrical stimulation for diminishing pain. The process involves delivering a low-voltage electric current through electrodes by placing them on the pain site’s skin.
The electric current stimulates the pain site’s nerves sending signals to the brain cells and scrambling the standard pain signals. It is a painless therapy and can also be used to mask pains such as diabetic neuropathy. However, it may not be recommended for low back pain.
This also involves relieving the pain by blocking the signals sent to the brain. It causes the production of chemicals called endorphins by the body. These endorphins decrease or eliminate the painful sensations by blocking the pain signals.
It is used for treating situations like back pain, muscle pain, headaches, migraines, arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, scleroderma, and TMJ disorders. When bioelectric treatment is used along with pain-relieving medications, it can reduce the dose up to 50%.
Physical therapy helps relieve pain by using techniques that help improve the function and movement impaired due to an injury or a disability. It employs pain-relieving techniques, stretching, and strengthening for managing pain. Physical therapists may also use other methods like TENS to aid the treatment.
Although short rest periods alleviate pain, rest for very long periods can increase pain and put you at the risk of muscle injury when you attempt to move again. Regular exercise diminishes pain in the long term and improves muscle tone, flexibility, and strength.
Along with this, it causes the body to release endorphins, known as the body’s natural pain killers. Specific exercises are more comfortable to perform for the individual suffering from chronic pain than others, such as swimming, yoga, walking, biking, and rowing.
- Psychological Treatment
When individuals are in pain, they can suffer from feelings of despair like sadness, anger, frustration, and hopelessness. It also disrupts the sleep cycle and interferes with work and social relations, leading to depression and anxiety. Psychological methods are non-drug techniques for relieving the feelings caused by pain and help the patient relax.
Different Treatments for Pain Management