Some kind of pains persists for a longer duration. Such pain might last for few months. This kind of pain falls into the category of chronic pain. There is no chronic pain management for certain types of pain but treatment will surely help the person get some much-needed relief.
Before any kind of treatment is initiated for chronic pain, following things have to be considered.
The duration since which the pain has persisted needs to be clearly understood. If there is some understanding on what is causing this pain, finding a relief becomes fairly easier. The chronic pain management techniques have changed over the course of years and doctors suggest many options which can help in getting relief from chronic pain.
Radiofrequency ablation hits the nerves which usually deliver pain signal to the brain. The doctor uses a needle that has a tip which heats up. This needle is usually placed at a closer location to the nerve. The heat of the needle tip absorbs the pain and therefore the pain signal goes no further.
A newer version of radiofrequency ablation by the name of cooled radiofrequency ablation has been developed which offers some guided relief to the pain. Further studies on the effectiveness of cooled radiofrequency ablation are yet to be done.
Pain shots are known to deliver medicines at the exact location in the body where it is needed. The location at which pain shots is needed is found out by the doctor through an x-ray.
The doctor is thus the best person to decide which medicine is to be used through pain shot. They often use local anesthesia and steroids through these pain shots. Sometimes both local anesthesia and steroids are used together. However, both medications in pain shots have their distinct roles.
Local anesthesia helps in creating numbness in nerves or the muscle. Steroids on the other hand help in easing the inflammation which thus lowers the pain.
Shots available for chronic pain management
Numerous types of shots exist for chronic pain management and the common ones of these include Nerve root blocks, Epidural steroid injection and Trigger point injections.
Nerve root blocks: This pain shot targets the nerves which are in the spine area. These nerves if not treated with nerve root block cause pain in other regions as arms and legs.
Epidural steroid injection: This steroid injection helps in curing disc problems. This nerve shot treats the outer region of the spinal column.
Trigger point injection: This pain shot works on curing tight spots in your muscles. At times, these spots are tight enough that these squeeze the nerves and thus cause pain in other areas.
Pain shot benefits a patient for a minimum of four-week and the relief can extend up to one year. More pain shots might be needed if the pain persists. If pain shot does not work, doctors suggest the use of pain pump. This pain pump is usually implanted at the base of the spine.
This pain pump drips medication in small quantities. The doctor sets up the pump in such a way that the medicine is released on its own after a small duration.
Doctors also prescribe opioids for chronic pain management. Opioids are known to reduce the pain signals. Some of the common pain opioid includes Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Methadone, and Oxycodone.
Opioids are considered to be very effective for treating severe pain. However, opioid also has some severe side effects which include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and constipation.
However, opioid should be taken after due consultation with the doctor since it can interfere with breathing and in severe cases, the patient might die also. Considering the dangers involved with the persistent use of opioid, doctors are now working on some other medications which are potentially less dangerous.
Alternate approach to treating chronic pain
Some alternate approaches are also being explored for chronic pain management. Most of these including yoga, massage and acupuncture have been in use for long. However, in recent times a lot of research has been done on these alternative approaches to treating chronic pain.
In Acupuncture, tiny needles are placed in the skin at some points in the body. Studies done on acupuncture have shown that when used on a regular basis it eases the pain in the lower back. Acupuncture also helps in relieving joint pain which occurs due to arthritis.
Massage and yoga
Massage and yoga can help people recover from lower back pain. However, a person will have only marginal relief from pain from massage. A person should, however, consult a doctor if he or she is thinking on using massage and yoga for getting relief from chronic pain.
The quality of life will certainly improve when massage and yoga are used for chronic pain management but chronic pain might improve marginally through these techniques.