Treatment Options for Chronic Aches and Pains

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

When it comes to chronic pain, there are different types of treatments to choose from ranging from oral and topical medication to therapy. Below are some of the common pain management treatments recommended by most doctors:

Oral and Topical Medication

Oral and topical medications may come in pill or ointment/cream form, respectively. These types of pain management drugs contain anti-inflammatory compounds to relieve mild pain, prevent swelling, and soothe inflammation.

Aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen are some of the most common over-the-counter (OTC) medications used to manage everyday aches and pains such as muscle strain, headaches, etc.

There are times when OTC medicines are not enough to get rid of pain. Prescription drugs offer stronger dose of anti-inflammatory properties to soothe chronic pain. As the name suggests, you will need a prescription to obtain such drugs.

Some of the most prescribed pain medications include drugs with opioids. Such meds include codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine. Adjuvant analgesics—like certain brands of anti-convulsants or anti-depressants—are also used to treat chronic aches and pains.

Unlike other prescription medications that address inflammation, adjuvant analgesics work to alter how the brain processes pain. These drugs not only help you cope with depression or anxiety, they also help eliminate chronic pain symptoms. Do note that both OTC and prescription medications have long-term side effects. As such, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the risks taking these drugs.

Surgical Implant Treatment

If the pain is so severe that not even prescription medication can ease the symptoms, then a doctor may recommend surgery or specifically, a surgical implant. This procedure offers long-lasting pain relief on targeted areas of the body. For example, if you suffer from pain in the spine, your doctor could inject a cocktail of pain management drugs directly to the spinal cord. This type of treatment is best reserved for those who suffer from extreme pain.

Trigger Point Injections

This treatment addresses tender areas within the muscle that causes pain. These areas are called “trigger points.” Note that because not all adults have trigger points, this type of treatment is recommended to those who suffer from fibromyalgia, chronic pelvic pain, or myofascial pain syndrome

Epidural Steroid Injection

A shot of anti-inflammatory steroids is injected straight to the back of the neck to eliminate pain from the back, the legs, or the arms and/or hands. This treatment—which is performed assisted by X-ray—eases pain by up to 8 hours.

Celiac Plexus Block

This is an advanced pain medication performed to relieve pain in patients afflicted with chronic abdominal pain, including those suffering from cancer of the pancreas or stomach. The drug is injected under the assistance of X-ray with the needle placed on the mid-back, just in front of the spine. Celiac Plexus Block will numb the targeted group of nerves called the celiac plexus, eliminating pain for several hours.

Lumbar Sympathetic Block

Lumbar Sympathetic Block is typically injected in the leg. The procedure is guided by X-ray and will require local anesthetic. A cocktail of liquid pain medications is injected near the lumbar sympathetic chain to relieve pain. Side effects will include soreness on the injected area or the groin. Lumbar Sympathetic Block efficacy may last up to 8 hours.

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