(MedPage Today) -- Health news and commentary from around the Web gathered by the MedPage Today staff
(MedPage Today) -- Health news and commentary from around the Web gathered by the MedPage Today staff
(MedPage Today) -- Common sense issues should prevail in pain management
(MedPage Today) -- Hospital physicians overlooking other effective treatments could add to opioid crisis
"The most effective medication depends on what is causing the pain. For example, narcotic medications are very helpful for certain severe pain problems, but may do very little to help pain which is due to chronic tissue inflammation, muscle spasm or nerve irritation. All pain problems cannot be alleviated with the same medication. To make matters more complex, different people may respond to the same medication in different ways. One person may have great pain relief with medication A and another person may not have any relief with the same medication. This is why a doctor's full evaluation is necessary before prescribing any pain medication in order to identify all of the possible factors which may be causing the chronic pain situation.
Unfortunately, patients are often referred to doctors who will perform an injection and never see them again for follow- up pain management instructions or long term treatment options. The difference between these "injectionists" and a Pain Management specialist is that the specialist will "blend" several therapies so that the person receives the best chance at long term pain relief. Epidural injections are highly effective, but only if they are used within a specific treatment plan with close follow-up after the injection. You should ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a Center for Pain Relief & Rehabilitation for long term treatment options.
A spinal cord stimulator is a devise which is very helpful for pain that involves damaged nerves. It is most commonly used for pain in the arms or legs. Essentially, this device "turns off" the pain signals which are sent out from damaged or abnormal nerves.
The pain sensation is replaced by a gentle "electrical massage" sensation. The person undergoes a temporary trial use to ensure that the stimulator will relieve at least 60% of the pain. After a successful trial, the stimulator is permanently implanted under the skin, like a pacemaker.
Heat can be very helpful for chronic pain for two major reasons.
One, it causes increased blood flow to tissues. This allows more oxygen to reach the tissues and also flushes out toxins. Two, it allows muscles and ligaments to stretch more easily which will help alleviate painful spasms.
Pain that is "all in the head" is not very common. The medical term is Somatization. Some people do turn the emotional symptoms of anxiety or depression into the physical symptom of pain. It is more common; however, for people with physical pain to have more intense pain because of their anxiety or depression. Anxiety and depression lower people's pain tolerance. Although it's not all in their head, emotional disturbances definitely worsen the pain problem. This is why it is important for people with chronic pain to also see a psychiatrist to have those emotional issues treated at the same time as their physical pain issues.
Most pain medications are meant to be used for short term pain problems such as after surgery or for an acute injury. Those medications typically provide pain relief for only 3 to 4 hours and then they wear off.
Medications that provide pain relief for 8 to 24 hours at a time are better for chronic pain problems. One pill is slowly released into the blood stream to provide superior pain relief that lasts longer. Studies have also shown that slow-release pain medications cause a lesser incidence of tolerance and work very effectively at the same dose for years.
Lower back pain or back pain can cause a lot of trouble, especially for working professionals. Apart from visiting a pain practitioner, you can resort to these common lifestyle changes to get lower back pain relief. Reduce stress in life, boost pain relief with endorphins by exercising, try deep breathing and meditation to relax, cut back on alcohol and smoking, track your pain level and activities to help your doctor understand your situation better, get a massage, eat healthily, and find ways to distract yourself from the pain.
Even if your symptoms sound exactly like your neighbor's, it is most likely that the two of you are still having different problems. Patients often ask me if they can take the same medication that their friend is taking, but it's not that simple. Doctors treat the problem not just the symptoms. Different problems often times cause similar symptoms, but because they are different problems each person needs to be treated individually. Talk to your doctor about other options for your problem. If you are not currently seeing a Pain Management specialist or if you are not happy with your current Pain Management specialist please feel free to set up an appointment with our office, professionals at Center for Pain Relief and Rehab are trained and equipped to treat and help you.
In Acute Pain problems, such as a sprained ankle or a burn, the pain is a "signal" to the person that something is wrong and alerts that person to stop doing a certain activity. In Chronic Pain problems, the pain is no longer a helpful tool. Because of an abnormal process within the nerves, pain is being produced even though there is no longer ongoing injury to a particular body part. Using medication in order to decrease the pain and increase activity is a very important part of getting better. As a person moves around more, those abnormal pain signals can "die out". You should always talk to your physician for specific directions regarding your condition.
There are five common types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder, cause pain and decrease mobility. These include:
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis that affects the shoulder. This type of arthritis often comes with age and causes protective cartilage to wear away over time, which is why we typically refer to it as ‘wear-and-tear’ arthritis. When the cartilage wears away, there is no longer a cushion to keep the joints from rubbing against each other.
Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the lining of the joints in the shoulder rather than the cartilage between joints. The swelling of this crucial lubricating lining results in pain in both joints of the shoulder, making it difficult for everyday common movements.
Posttraumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that develops after an injury. Some patients develop arthritis after an injury to the shoulder. This could be the result of a fracture, dislocation, athletic injury or other type of trauma.”
Rotator Cuff Arthropathy
This form of arthritis affecting the shoulder is typically the result of an untreated rotator cuff injury, such as a rotator cuff tear. Patients showing signs of rotator cuff arthropathy usually experience shoulder pain, weakness and a decreased range of motion.
Avascular necrosis is a condition affecting blood circulation to the shoulder. While this condition may not initially show symptoms, it worsens with time and can lead to shoulder arthritis. When a patient has avascular necrosis, blood flow to the humerus bone in the shoulder is inhibited. When blood isn’t able to travel to the bone, the cells in the shoulder die.
No! Effective pain management allows people to be relieved of pain using different therapies so that they don't rely solely on narcotic pain killers. The incidence of addiction to narcotic or morphine- like medications is about 3-5%. In people who use these medications for the treatment of chronic pain, the rate is about 1-3%. So, although the risk of addiction is present, it is a relatively low risk and for people who are suffering, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. It is very important, though, that such medications be used under the direction of an experienced doctor who is able to identify and treat any problems. It is extremely important to realize; however, that prescription pain killer abuse is now the #1 type of abused substance surpassing marijuana. It is your responsibility to ensure that your medication isn't taken by anyone else but you.
Pain management specialists use injections to quickly alleviate multiple types of pain. The most common type is the epidural injection, for back or neck pain, but many other types are available to ease the pain. The injections consist of local anesthetic, aka numbing medication, with or without a steroid. The local anesthetic provides immediate pain relief by blocking the nerves that carry the pain signal and the steroid decreases inflammation and helps the tissues to heal. The injected steroid is much more effective than a steroid pill because it is placed directly onto the inflamed tissues. Also, because it doesn't have to be absorbed into the bloodstream to get to the site of pain, the risk of side effects is much less.
Chronic pain can be caused due to a number of diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia are well-known culprits, but persistent pain may also be due to such ailments as cancer, multiple sclerosis, stomach ulcers, AIDS, and gallbladder disease. Write to us about your condition, and we will provide you with a tailored response.
You can also share your email address or phone number so one of us can reach out to you.
Chronic pain often involves elements of both neuropathic and nociceptive pain. One example of this is low back pain, which often has both nociceptive and neuropathic components.
Tell us about your situation and we will provide you with a tailored response to your condition. You can also share your email address or phone number so someone from our team can reach out to you.
Chronic pain is a long-term condition. However, like other chronic conditions, it can be managed and controlled with the right treatment, e.g., medication and lifestyle changes. Tell us about your situation, and we will provide you with a tailored response. You can also share your email address or phone number so one of us can reach out to you.