If you’re a chronic pain patient, you’re likely very motivated to find relief. After months of suffering, you might even wonder if the pain will ever go away.
Thankfully, there are a variety of “pain management” solutions available that may be able to help. But what exactly is pain management? Does it involve care by medical professionals? Where can you access it? Let’s take a closer look and find some helpful answers.
The Nature of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is persistent, lasting for months or even longer. It’s different from acute pain, which is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury. Chronic pain continues long after the injury or health condition causing it has healed or cleared up. It can limit your mobility and reduce your flexibility, strength, and endurance, making it hard to get through daily tasks and activities.
What Is Pain Management?
Pain management is a branch of medicine employing an interdisciplinary approach to ease the suffering and improve the quality of life of those living with chronic pain. The goal for chronic pain patients is not just about reducing or eliminating pain but also about improving day-to-day function and mood.
There are various strategies available for managing chronic pain, including non-pharmacological and pharmacological approaches, as well as surgical and interventional techniques.
How Does Pain Management Work? A Variety of Solutions
Doctors and other medical practitioners use a wide variety of methods, techniques, and treatments to help their patients manage pain. Anyone wondering, “How does pain management work?” will find plenty of answers below.
Non-pharmacological Pain Management Strategies
Non-pharmacological strategies focus on preventing pain without using medication. These include:
- Physical therapy involves exercises to help improve mobility and decrease pain
- Hot needling is a method where thin needles are inserted into specific points on your body to relieve pain
- Biofeedback and relaxation techniques help you gain control over body functions that reduce pain
- Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients understand their thought patterns so they can react differently to pain
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation uses a device to send low-voltage electrical signals through the skin to interfere with the way nerves send pain signals to the brain
Pharmacological Pain Management Strategies
Pharmacological strategies involve medications to relieve pain. These include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Opioids such as morphine and codeine (which can be effective but also highly addictive)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and naproxen
- Antidepressants and antiepileptics, which can modify the way pain is perceived
- Steroids, which can reduce inflammation and pain
Interventional Pain Management Techniques
Interventional or surgical techniques can also be employed for chronic pain when other methods have not been effective. These types of methods have proven to be effective at reducing pain for a majority of patients (although keep in mind that every patient is different and may not experience the same results).
These minimally invasive treatments include:
- Nerve blocks involve injecting a substance into or around the nerve, preventing the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain
- Trigger point injections target specific areas of the body with a local anesthetic that relaxes the muscles and reduces inflammation
- Radiofrequency ablation uses heat generated from medium-frequency alternating current to denervate tissues that cause pain
How To Choose The Right Pain Management Strategy
Choosing the right pain management strategy requires considering several factors, including the nature and severity of your pain, your overall health, and your personal preferences. Always work with your healthcare provider or a specialist in your diagnosis, treatment, and decision-making process when creating a plan to manage your pain.
You, as a patient, play a central role in managing your pain. It’s important to be actively involved in your own care and maintain open communication with your medical caregivers. This can ensure you receive the best treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs.
How Does Pain Management Work at HPM?
At HPM, our highly trained pain management specialists take their time to investigate the true source of each patient’s pain. After identifying the root cause of a patient’s pain, we use the latest advancements in caring for chronic pain and operate pain management clinics in rural communities throughout a growing number of U.S. states. To find a location near you, visit our website today.
Managing chronic pain can be a complex process, but with the right strategies and support from professionals like those at HPM, it is possible to manage your pain effectively and improve your quality of life.