Guide to Pain Relief (Chronic Pain)

Do you find that you’re in pain more often than you should be? Do you suffer from neck, back, and joint pain? If the pain you’re experiencing is constant, we highly recommend a consultation with an orthopedic physician. The pain that you’re experiencing could be chronic pain, which can be caused by old injuries or even a health issue. The sooner you seek help the better! Our expert orthopedic physicians can help with aches and pains and find the cause.

 

What is Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can range from mild to severe. The pain can be felt daily or off and on. Some types of pain include:

  • A dull ache
  • Throbbing
  • Burning
  • Shooting
  • Squeezing
  • Stinging
  • Stiffness

Everyone experiences pain – from a cut to pulling a muscle. Pain is one way that the body tells you something is wrong. However, chronic pain is different. If you develop chronic pain from an injury or even a health issue, your body can hurt for weeks or even years.

Three Steps to Manage Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can affect sleep, work, and even simple daily activities. An orthopedic doctor can treat issues like arthritis, migraines, and pain due to an injury. We help our patients understand their chronic pain and how to meet any daily challenges due to their conditions.

The guide to chronic pain relief is broken down into three parts. These parts are as follows:

Understanding chronic pain

When you’re diagnosed with a chronic pain condition, the first step is to understand how it develops. Understanding your pain can assist your recovery or lessen the pain that you experience.

At Coastal Orthopedics, we have five highly skilled pain management physicians who are board certified and considered to be among the top physicians in Florida. The following physicians can help with many different chronic pain conditions:

The pain management physicians at Coastal Orthopedics specialize in many different areas of chronic pain including:

  • Chronic neck and back pain
  • Headaches
  • Pain from failed back surgery
  • Nerve compression
  • Tendonitis and bursitis
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Complex regional syndromes (reflex sympathetic dystrophy, or RSD)
  • Disorders of the nervous system, including shingles
  • Cancer pain
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Vertebral compression fractures

Treating chronic pain

In this part of the process, your doctor will help you understand the different treatment options and choose the best treatment for your pain. There are many treatment options, from medications and injections to alternative therapies.

Your doctor will go over everything from the side effects of medication, to which treatment will better help reduce or even eliminate your pain. Every case is different.

The most common procedures performed at Coastal Orthopedics to treat chronic pain conditions are:

  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Facet joint injections
  • Peripheral joint injections
  • Sacroiliac injections
  • Trigger point injections
  • Nerve blocks
  • Spinal cord stimulator
  • Facet radiofrequency
  • Vertebroplasty
  • Sacroplasty
  • Kyphoplasty

 

Managing chronic pain

When it comes to chronic pain, there are steps you can take to help ease the pain on your own. These steps, like adding a daily self-care program to your routine, can minimize the pain you’re experiencing. This could include activities like exercises or stretches. An orthopedic specialist can help you make a personalized home plan to help you manage chronic pain.

 

10 Tips for Living with Chronic Pain

There are many ways you can help your chronic pain. By taking steps to change your daily activities and soothe your pain naturally, you can help your chronic pain without medications. Here are 11 tips that can help you live with chronic pain conditions:

  1. Learn deep breathing and meditation techniques to help relax your mind and body. Helping your body and mind relax can help ease the symptoms of chronic pain. Deep breathing and meditations can ease tension and tightness in your muscles.
  2. Reduce the stress in your life, stress can intensify chronic pain. Negative feelings, including depression, anxiety and anger can cause stress. Stress causes your body to be sensitive to pain and intensifies the pain you may be experiencing. By learning to control the amount of stress in your life, you may find some relief from chronic pain.
  3. Boost your body’s natural endorphins through exercise. Endorphins are brain chemicals that help improve your mood while also blocking pain signals. Your orthopedic physician can help create an exercise routine that’s right for you.
  4. Decrease alcohol intake as alcohol can cause sleep problems. Pain can already cause issues with your sleeping patterns. Adding alcohol to the equation can make your sleeping problems even worse. If you live with chronic pain, decreasing or eliminating alcohol can improve your quality of life.
  5. Join a support group. By meeting others living with chronic pain, you can learn more techniques for coping with your condition. Being able to talk to others who experience similar pain and frustration from chronic pain conditions can help you feel less alone.
  6. Don’t smoke. Smoking can cause issues with circulation and increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
  7. Track your daily activities and pain levels. To help your doctor treat your pain properly, we advise you to track your activities and pain levels throughout the day. This helps your doctor understand when your pain is the worst and what you should eliminate or add to your daily activities to ease your pain.
  8. Get a massage. Massages can help relieve tension and stress in the body.
  9. Eat healthy. Eating healthy can help the body in many ways. For example, maintaining a healthy weight can help relieve stress on muscles. Eating healthy can also help the digestive process, reduce chances of heart disease and improve blood sugar levels.
  10. Find ways to focus more on life rather than pain. Focusing on pain can cause it to feel worse but performing an activity you enjoy helps remove your focus from pain.

 

What are the Treatment Options for Chronic Pain?

There are many ways your doctor can treat chronic pain. While the main technique is pain medications, there are a few alternative methods including exercises, acupuncture, Transcutaneous Electro-Nerve Stimulator (TENS) and injections.

 

What is Transcutaneous Electro-Nerve Stimulator (TENS)?

Transcutaneous Electro-Nerve Stimulator (TENS) is a chronic pain treatment that uses low-voltage electrical currents to relieve pain. This machine has two electrodes which attach to either the affected area or to a pressure point that can also help relieve the pain you are experiencing.

When the machine is charged, it creates a circuit of electrical impulses that travel along the nerve fibers. This current of electrical impulses can then help some people experience less pain.

What are Chronic Pain Injections

There are five common types of injections that can be used to help chronic pain. These injections, which can be performed by pain management professionals at three of our locations, include:

  • Epidural steroid injection
  • Selective nerve root block (SNRB)
  • Facet joint block
  • Facet rhizotomy
  • Sacroiliac joint block

These injections can be more effective than taking daily pain relief medications. A steroid medication is an injection that delivers a powerful anti-inflammatory solution directly to the affected area. Some injections last longer than others but receiving one injection is not a permanent solution. Patients will need to come back to receive further treatment.

The number of times a patient needs to get an injection depends on when the pain returns and the treatment plan.

 

What are Medications That Can Be Prescribed for Chronic Pain?

There are many types of prescription medications for chronic pain management. The main medications used for chronic pain fall into the following categories:

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory medications and Acetaminophen. Most Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory medications, also known as NSAIDs, are over-the-counter medications. NSAIDs like Ibuprofen can be used for muscular and bone pain as well as some chronic pain syndromes.
  • Antidepressants. When taking a lower dosage than what is needed for depression, this category of medications can be very helpful in controlling pain. Always talk to your pharmacist about any possible side effects.
  • Anticonvulsants (Anti-seizure) Medications. This category of medications is helpful for nerve pain (burning or shooting pains).
  • Muscle Relaxants. This category of medication is best used for pains such as acute setting of muscle spasms.
  • Opioids. This category can be very effective in controlling certain types of chronic pain but are less effective (or require higher doses) for nerve pain. If you experience pain that lasts all day, a slow release Opioid may be recommended.

 

In Pain? Need Help Fast? Contact Coastal Orthopedics Today

Contact Coastal Orthopedics today if you’re experiencing any type of pain that has lasted 12 weeks and will not go away. This may be a sign that you have chronic pain and could be due to a serious health issue. Seek help for chronic pain before it becomes worse! Call 941-792-1404 today