Here’s What a Treatment Plan for Managing Chronic Pain Should Include

When it comes to chronic pain treatment there are a lot of options to choose from. While one method of treatment will be perfect for an individual, that same treatment might not be very helpful at all for somebody else.

Depending on the characteristics of the person, the type of pain they are experiencing, and other factors such as insurance coverage and financial strength there are plenty of options out there.

Finding the Right Facility

Chronic pain can be debilitating and relentless. It is not a good idea to simply Google some good ol’ remedies that you can boil up in your kitchen and try out. When pain becomes an overwhelming force in life, the best way to deal with it is to seek out the help of a professional.

Although in the midst of unstoppable pain it is easy to want to jump at the first available option for relief, it is not wise to do so. It is always a good idea to make sure that whoever is helping you with your pain is certified and qualified to do so.

Discovering the Source of the Pain

For some people locating the source of the pain is very easy. From a broken leg to a fresh wound all you have to do is look at the injury and you know why you’re in pain. However, some types of pain are not so easy to figure out why they exist.

In order for a medical professional to help manage pain, they have to know why it is there or at least have a general understanding of what is causing it.

Some people have conditions that cause them pain because they have nerve problems. Some people have pain from arthritis. Some people have pain that comes from an unseen injury deep in the tissue of the thigh or shoulder.

In any event, before a treatment plan can be made, the physician must have a clue as to how to manage it, or the plan could be no more effective than the paper it is written on.

How to Manage Certain Pain

Once you and your health care professional know what is causing the pain and what kind of pain you are experiencing you can ponder the best ways to manage it within your personal range of options. 

Some people believe that the only way to deal with pain is to take heavy-duty prescription medications such as morphine or oxycodone. At one time, most doctors believed that this was a great way to get rid of the pain. However, drugs that are based on opioids tend to be extremely addictive and cause more harm than good.

Doctors today tend to believe that if you tackle the source of the pain and get it under control without heavy medications that it is all around better for the patient, and the surrounding community.

The biggest part of the treatment plan is discovering the best method for the patient to use in order to deal with the pain.

Medications and Drug Therapy

We mentioned above that drugs can be a way to fight pain, but we only talked about opioids. There are also other types of medications that help with the pain. There are anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners, muscle relaxers, anti-depressants, serotonin, and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

While anti-inflammatory drugs can help with pain that is caused by swelling or inflammation, anti-depressants and SNRIs can be of assistance when it comes to dealing with nerve pain.

Using drugs to ward off pain is not a bad thing, however, the people that go this route need to be fully educated about the risks that are involved with drug use and how certain drugs can affect different aspects of a person’s health.

Pain Reducing Injections

One of the more popular ways of treating chronic pain problems is for the physician to inject a steroid or other pain-relieving solution directly into the source of the pain. The good thing about injections like this is that they do not contain any harsh, or addictive drugs.

With an epidural steroid injection, the physician will inject a steroid solution into the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord. This is mostly done for pain in the lower back but can be a solution for the upper back as well. The steroid medication is designed to reduce inflammation and allow the aggravated tissue to relax and cease to hurt.

There is also a type of injection known as a nerve block. This is when the physician injects a local anesthetic close to the nerves that are sending signals to the brain. In most cases, the injection interrupts the signals so that they do not tell the brain that there is a reason to feel pain. When chronic pain is caused by inflamed nerves, this method of treatment is very effective. Not only does the shot work, but this type of treatment can also help to uncover the true source of the pain and stop it where its root is.

In the case of joint injections, the physician will inject medication directly into joints in order to cease the inflammation that is causing the pain. The results can vary depending on what is causing the joint pain, however, for the most part, this type of injection is effective and is harmless.

Trigger point injections are when the physician injects medication directly into knots or spots that are sensitive to pressure in order to alleviate chronic aches and pains such as tension headaches.

Meditation and Hatha Yoga

Many of the holistic healthcare professionals believe that pain can be overcome by a positive mindset and a healthy body. In many cases, they are correct. Sometimes people suffer from pain because they do not get enough exercise or stretching in their life.

Back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and other types of pain can all be caused by weak muscles and tight ligaments. 

Some health professionals recommend that if a person is struggling with lower back pain, shoulder pain, and other common areas such as hips and mid back that the person does exercises that strengthen their core muscles.

By strengthening the core muscles, the patient is able to use the core to do things as opposed to using the back muscles. The core is a muscle group located in the center of the body that becomes engaged as the person walks or moves around.

The primary reason for the core is to keep the person in balance as they walk, run, sit down or stand up. Without a core, people would not be able to walk without falling down.

In any event, a weak core will force the body to use the spine and back muscles to help lift heavy objects or stay balanced under harsh conditions. When the person uses the spine to lift things, they can cause damage to the spine and the tissue around it.

What some professionals recommend is to begin an exercise training regimen with a good deal of stretching.

Although Hatha Yoga is considered a spiritual way of moving energy from one point in the body to the next, science has proven that stretching in a manner that results in deep flexibility is an excellent way to keep the body tuned, in shape, and free from certain pains.

In addition to practicing yoga and strengthening the core, the concept of daily meditation has become a popular topic for pain relief. Coupled with regular stretching, meditation can have a substantial effect on the person that practices it.

One of the main purposes of meditation is to slow the body down and regulate the breath. Doing this, causes the entire body to relax. If the pain is the result of tight muscles, excess swelling, or inflammation of tendons because of overuse, relaxation and stretching can help to reduce the pain and make it dissipate away.

Creating an Effective Treatment Plan

With all of the pertinent information in place, it is pretty simple to create a treatment plan that is appropriate for the patient. Although each person will be different and have their own unique characteristics, the basic underlying goal for all pain treatment plans is to alleviate the pain, or at least bring it down to a tolerable level.

Some of the basic key factors to include in a treatment plan are:

  • The goal of the plan
  • The way the plan will be carried out
  • The timeframe for treatment
  • Measuring the progress of the relief
  • A well-scheduled agenda for treatments and progress assessments

As long as the communication between the patient and the physician is clear and the patient understands what they are doing and how they are doing it the plan will be solid enough to be a useful tool in the treatment process.

Conclusion

There is no one-stop solution for all pain. The good news is that modern science and technology provide safe and effective solutions for people. A well-planned treatment with a willing patient and a knowledgeable physician can be life-changing for a person that suffers from chronic pain.

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