What Are My Options For Chronic Pain?

Recent research reveals that approximately 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain and 8% of adults in the US report high-impact chronic pain. Clinically defined as pain lasting longer than 3 months, chronic pain often develops after an injury or serious medical issue. From sleeping patterns to maintain a robust social life, stubborn chronic pain can be majorly debilitating to countless patients in the USA. While other options should be exhausted before attempting any surgical intervention, surgery can help treat particularly stubborn cases of chronic pain. To minimize potential risks and maximize benefits, doctors initially suggest non-surgical treatment methods such as over-the-counter medication and consistent physical therapy.

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Restoring function

Doctors urge patients to pursue opioids for minor procedures or dull persistent pain unless pain is sharp and unbearable. For short-term treatment, such as after major surgery, opioids can help patients focus on healing rather than pain levels. In cases of moderate pain, many healthcare providers note that alternative options may work better and have fewer risks and side effects than opioids. Furthermore, researchers found that opioids provided no significant improvement in pain, function, mental health status, sleep, or depression after short-term follow-ups. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help manage symptoms, while topical numbing treatments provide temporary relief. Patients can more easily complete every day activities by skipping opioids and using other effective pain management strategies.

Consistency is paramount

To minimize the need for prescription pain medication, physicians often recommend complementing pain medication with consistent physical therapy targeting the nervous system. The nervous system acts as an alert system for potential bodily threats. In cases of chronic pain, nerves continue to signal presence of a threat with or without any real danger. Developing an individualized strategy with a physical therapist to calm the body and reduce nerve sensitivity. By identifying specific daily tasks that chronic pain interrupts, patients work to develop a plan with doctors that targets the best strengthening movements.

A pain-free life

Pain affects many people, but chronic pain takes discomfort and disruption to another level. To get back to everyday activities, key healthcare practitioners suggest combining physical therapy and specific medication. Chronic pain makes many patients feel entirely alone, but many can experience relief and regain function with a diverse set of foundational clinical strategies.