Overview of chronic pain management

Treating chronic pain is an art. More than anything else, it is quite challenging. Hence one needs a personalized health care team and pain management plan to deal with the pain/health condition.

  • The best way to analyze or to develop a comprehensive plan is talking to and with the health care team in detail and describing to them about the pain that you struggled or are struggling with, and your expectations.
  • Finding the right team of health care team of doctors is a vital step in managing your pain.
  • The Patient-Doctor relationship is essential, and an intense conversation between the doctor and patient is one of the best methods/procedures for expediting the pain management and relief process. It also results in the creation of a much more personalized pain management plan that not only specifically caters to your pain needs but is also efficient and comprehensive.
  • A pain diary is another great way to keep track of your case mainly, as it helps people to track their pain over time. It can either be a printable diary or hard copy which can be shared with the doctor each time the patient meets.
  • In fact, pain management doctors would have professional health care charts. These descriptions/template could be infused with the daily routine which would help the team to know about the patient better.

It’s important that the patient understand that these methods are goals of treatment to reduce the pain and develop the ability to function mentally and physically joyfully. It could improve the sleep over time, and one could even manage to deal with skills and manage stress. There should be a brilliant cooperation from the patient to identify ways and manage pain.

Counseling, physical therapy, and complementary therapy are some of the best means of handling the pain over time. However, to some extent, certain chronic pain can be treated with pain relievers and practising other healthy habits. Most pain medicines are linked to relieving from chronic pain, and they are recommended to take after consulting with doctors. Ideally, it is always better to continue with the patients’ way of healing routine after getting relief from pain management clinic therapists.



Different types of headaches

There are several headache remedies, and by adopting these may reduce your pain. But, if you change your lifestyle and can control stress and know to solve your problems, it works well. Such factors assist in getting rid of your headaches. However, it is better to consult a doctor at least once, in the case of severe headache problems since remedies that work for one person may differ from the other person since symptoms and treatment for the headaches are always different. You can follow the below-mentioned remedies.

Headaches due to tensions: If you are suffering from headaches because of tensions, you can only go for pain relievers and other over the counter medications. These pills help you a lot. Somehow, you need to be very careful, because consuming too many pills might cause hard-to-treat rebound headaches. Suppose, you wish to consume these drugs frequently, you will have to consult your doctor. If you are below 19 years old, then avoid consuming such medications, as it creates a dangerous health risk conditions known as ‘Reye’s syndrome’.

Migraine headaches medications: You can usually consume these in the form of pills, injections, as well as nasal spray. Drug for migraine headaches can be used in the form of an injection or as a nasal spray. However, it is advisable to consult with doctors and get a prescription before rushing to the medical store.

Cluster headaches: Simple pain relievers can easily destroy the pain fast. While, doctors have researched that, by inhaling pure oxygen (high doses) gives a great relief from the cluster headaches.

Pain reliever medicines which flow inside the nose slowly has provided relief to some people. Even the preventive medications frequently work in a better way when you consume them during the first sign of the new cluster headaches.

The type of medication or treatment to be prescribed by a medical professional will be determined only after a thorough consultation.



Opioid for chronic pain

One of the more common treatments for chronic pain is opioids. However, there are fears associated with addiction when one is prescribed opioids. If opioids are taken in the manner they are prescribed, chances of addiction are very low. Addiction only occurs when there are some predisposing factors involved. One of these predisposing factors is a family history or history of addiction. Not only substance abuse, but a history or family history of psychiatric illnesses also influence addiction. The American Pain Society defines addiction, tolerance and physical dependence as follows:

  • Addiction: Addiction is not just psychological. It is also genetic. Addiction is an unexplainable craving for something, which is called the abused substance, and a nonstop, compulsive use of it even when the person using it is harmed because of it. Along with genetic influence, the development and manifestation of any addictive behaviour are also caused by environmental influences. It’s a classic case of both nature and nurture playing a role in behaviour
  • Tolerance: Tolerance is what happens when one has had prolonged exposure to a drug. Because of prolonged exposure, the effect of the drug becomes less and less potent in the person taking it, until it ceases to have any effect at all.
  • Physical Dependence: This is manifested in the form of withdrawal symptoms when one stops using a drug abruptly, or when the dosage of the drug is rapidly reduced. An opioid antagonist when given to someone who is taking opioid manifests withdrawal symptoms which are a process of adaptation. It takes about a minimum of 6 hours to a maximum of 72 hours for withdrawal symptoms to go away. These symptoms include pain in the abdomen, nausea, throwing up or diarrhoea. These also occur if one stops taking opioid after a two-week usage. However, this is not a sign of addiction. It is the body adapting to the change.

If prescribed opioids, ensure they are taken in an exact manner predicted. Should the pain continue even after taking opioids, do not increases the dosage without consulting your doctor first. If necessary, take long acting opioids as opposed to the short acting ones because these don’t give a euphoric sensation.



Best migraine and headache treatment

A migraine and headache treatment depends upon the signs that your problems are solved with chiropractic care. You should always explain your problems to the consultants so that they will guide whether the treatment should be done in the office or sent to another healthcare provider.

During certain cases, the migraine or a headache will be caused due to several environmental or systemic factors which are usually not linked to any biomechanical factors that are related to the spine. While proper diet can be a major factor that helps you overcome the frequent pain in the head, high blood pressure or any recent changes in the medications might also handle the major part.

By relying on particular part of the head which has a huge pain, the problem might get converted to allergies or any other kind of a sinus condition. In case, you find that headaches arrive from the spine, or any of the particular body parts, you can consult physicians since they mainly focus on the neck side. The headaches which are caused by the neck are referred to as being carcinogenic. The carcinogenic headaches are due to any of the cervical (neck) vertebrae which are simply out of the alignment.

When you are affected by migraines, the vertebrae are typically found in the upper neck. The different ways the occipital (skull) sits on the first vertebra, and you can conclude that the first vertebra itself (atlas), or the second vertebra is available in the neck (axis) are usually the vertebra. Suppose, you find misalignments in these specific regions, these will usually be the vertebrae that are used to adjust to assist in removing the recurring headaches.

At the time of treatment, you can improve these areas and then likely add additional therapies such as electrical stimulation or ice to calm inflammations. It is found that by calming these tissues and following the adjustments, it is good to prevent any unpleasant symptoms of post treatment. The vertebrae can always be adjusted several numbers of times per week for many weeks, with a re-examination that occurs after ten visits. However, improvement of a headache does not mean that your headache has been removed completely.



Do you need a pain specialist, find out here

In today’s world, there is lots of demand for pain specialists. After all, pain is a tricky and all too common a problem. In fact, in a recently conducted survey, almost 25% of the population, i.e., more than 76 million Americans (aged 20 years and older) have said that they suffer from pain that has lasted even more than a day. So, when the pain one suffers from crosses a limit, it is time to visit and consult with a professional pain specialist who is at the top of his or her own field who can help the patient deal with the pain painlessly.

For example, in neurology, a pain specialist knows how to treat and resolve migraines. In a different case like cancer, a pain specialist can delicately handle cancer operation through anesthesiology.

Pain is not just a physical sensation or an emotional experience. Primarily, there are two major types of pain that people experience:

  • Acute Pain: This lasts for a shorter time, probably because of trauma/surgery.
  • Chronic Pain and cancer pain: This is a lifelong process to manage.

It is over here at this stage of the patient’s health condition that a pain specialist comes in. A pain management specialist with his/her trained skills successfully diagnoses, evaluate and treat the pain that the patients are suffering from at a personal level. It can be according to their health condition, mental emotions and the environment they live in.

The pain management specialists are physicians who are specially trained in evaluating each person’s medical documents, diagnosis with the right kind of treatment before implementing to them. Each disorder and person have different reasons for their pain – it could be because of an injury surgery, nerve damage etc. Concisely without any apparent cause, pain in itself can be a problem at times.

Most pain management specialists are usually referred to by a primary care physician. Primary care doctor and pain physicians are closely associated with each other to ensure good communication, which in turn serves an excellent treatment to their patients. During the pain management sessions of treatment, patients too in turn are mentioned by specialists because their different types of pain problem and how they handle the situation brings in a typify approach.

The first two sittings with the doctors will be a process to evaluate that particular person’s pain problem. The evaluation could be through historical medical documents, physical exam and individual review test. After evaluation, the specialist will decide with an appropriate treatment strategy.



General treatments for chronic pain

Chronic pain is pain that lasts for three to six months and more due to some previous injury or surgery, migraines, arthritis, infection, nerve damage, and back problems. It can be felt in the form of a dull ache, a burning or throbbing sensation, a shooting pain, a squeezing or stinging pain, soreness or stiffness. Sometimes, the pain is accompanied by fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, mood swings or merely lethargy. Because it interferes with daily life, it can leave one feeling angry and depressed.

As far as a general treatment for chronic pain goes, there are several medications, both oral and topical.

Oral medication is one that can be taken by mouth. These include anti-inflammatory drugs that are nonsteroidal, opioids and acetaminophen. Topical medications are those that can be applied to the skin in the form of creams, ointment or patches. Some patches are made to work when they are applied directly on top of the area where the pain is. Others need to be used far away from the centre of the pain, such as fentanyl patches. Some of these medications need a prescription while others are over the counter.

There are also other avenues like interventional techniques that involve injecting into or all about the area of the spine. Some of these injections may be superficial. These are injected into painful muscles. While these are called trigger point injections, others are more invasive. There are epidural injections given for pain in the neck, arm, back or leg. There are facet injections to the joints to enable movement of the neck and the back. There are also injections specifically given for burning pain.

When it comes to general treatment for chronic pain, medication is not the only way to go. Exercises, for instance, go a long way in relieving pain and reducing dependency on drugs. Exercises in these situations work best when done under the supervision or guidance of a physical therapist. Another method that could help relieve dependence on medication is acupuncture. Pads are placed on the skin over affected areas by Transcutaneous Electro-Nerve Stimulator or TENS units to help reduce pain.