Pain of any form is uncomfortable, and as living beings, we wouldn’t want to experience it. However, the feeling of pain can be a lifesaver, because they are usually an indication of a bigger problem that needs medical attention. Imagine your body system getting damaged, and due to the lack of pain you’re not aware of it until you become incapacitated.
With that said, it doesn’t mean you have to endure the agony of going through chronic pain. Pain management can help provide relief to people experiencing pain. In this article, you can have a glimpse of what pain management is and the pain management trends you should try this 2020.
What Is Pain Management?
Pain Management simply means providing help and relief to people experiencing chronic pain. Since there are different types of pain, managing pain also varies. The particular type of pain management to try is dependent on the pain you are experiencing and where.
Pain management can be broadly divided into two: pharmaceuticals and devices. The pharmaceutical method of managing pain involves all the drugs that may be used in managing pain, while the latter includes technology that is used to manage pain.
A third method not involving pharmaceuticals or devices is called alternative treatment. This type of management is not as popular as the first two, but does offer unique benefits.
Pharmaceutical method of managing pain includes the use of drugs like narcotics, non-narcotics, anesthetics, etc. The device method of managing pains could include the use of devices such as spine stimulators, or electrotherapy stimulators, while alternative makes use of yoga exercises.
Most pain management centers combine one or two of these methods to achieve pain-relieving results. Rindfleisch Family practice is renowned for using pharmaceuticals and state of the art tech to manage different types of pain. Pain can range from post-surgical pains, anesthetic pains, to headaches etc.
Pain Management Trends You Should Try In 2020
Using medication to manage pain is not necessarily a new trend in pain management. However, it has stood the test of time. Aside from this, using medication is usually the first approach to managing pains. Even if you engage in other types of pain management therapies, the use of medication is usually the first way to go.
Medication used to treat pain includes but is not limited to:
- Opioids: Most times, opioids are used to manage pains for a short while. Such pains could include post-surgery pains. It is made from either natural or synthetic opiates. Examples of opioids include morphine, codeine etc.
- Corticosteroids: Pain coming from inflammation, itching, redness etc. are best treated with corticosteroids. It can also be used to treat allergic reactions and pain resulting from asthma. They are usually used either as pills or injections targeting the specific pain region. An example of corticosteroids is prednisolone.
- Antidepressant: Antidepressants works by readjusting the natural chemicals in the brain. They do these by increasing the feel-good hormones to help the brain to relax. It even sends signals that significantly reduce chronic pains.
Most times, antidepressants are good for both emotional pain and physical pain, especially the ones that have to do with the nerves, like migraines. Examples of antidepressants include tricyclic, SNRIs(Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) and SSRIs(Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors).
The word implant, when used in medical terms, means the manufacture and use of medical devices inserted into the body to improve biological function. Implants are sometimes used to replace body structure and are usually human-made. Materials used for implants include silicone, titanium and other non-hazardous metals.
Implants have found their way into pain management therapies as stimulators and other essential aids needed to process pain, although, they are rarely used. There are two main types of implants. The spinal cord and peripheral stimulators and the intrathecal and epidural subcutaneous.
- Spinal Cord Implants And Peripheral Stimulators
The idea of spinal cord stimulation is based on advancement in medical knowledge that shows that pains pathways can be maneuvered by stimulation to prevent the brain from recovering electrical signals of pains. In spinal cord stimulation, “low-level electrical signals are transmitted to your spinal cord or to specific nerves to block pain signals from reaching the brain.”
The rate of reception of pain signal varies with individuals, but generally, the procedure is very effective in relieving pains. However, some individuals may not be responsive to such peripheral nerve stimulation of the spinal cord. You’ll have to do an experimental test to see if this implant will work out well for you.
- Intrathecal And Epidural Subcutaneous Implants
Intrathecal and epidural subcutaneous route of administration of drugs involves injecting the spinal canal directly. The main goal of such injections is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This method is of great importance to major biological procedures that include spinal anesthesia, pain management and even chemotherapy.
The procedure involved in an epidural steroid injection is not as invasive as those of spinal cord implants that results in peripheral stimulation. This procedure can also target pain in a specific part of your body such as your neck, back, leg and even certain internal pains like pains associated with nerves.
For the epidural procedure, the drugs needed to manage pain are injected into the epidural space (between your bones and the sac protecting your spinal nerve). After injection, the patient is expected to experience a reduction in pain and be able to go about their daily activities effectively.
In summary, implants are usually used for pain that affect the nerves. The intrathecal and epidural subcutaneous are used to transmit drugs to the spinal cord region directly.
In contrast, the spinal cord stimulators make use of electrical signals to block pain signals from reaching the brain. An example of the spinal cord stimulator is the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy (TENS). TENS sends electrical signals in low voltage through electrodes that are attached to the affected painful region. This then overwrites the pain signals that have been sent to the brain.
3. Alternative Treatment
In managing pain, one of the basic requirements sometimes is to drastically change your perception of pain management. This has to be done especially when alternatives such as drugs or implantations have been used with no considerable improvements. Having an open mindset means trying out alternative treatment. Such alternatives include physiotherapist massage, acupuncture, exercise and even the use of CBD for pain management.
- Physiotherapist Massage
Massage is a broad word that is used to describe the pressing or rubbing of a thing, which in this case is the skin, manipulating it to give a soothing sensation. These sensations can be felt beyond the skins into the muscles, tendons and even ligaments.
A massage by a physiotherapist is quite different because it is usually targeted towards pain relief and will be done with a topical pain-relieving gel such as a diclofenac gel. The gel will be applied topically on the affected skin region and would be expertly massaged in by a physiotherapist. Repeated application of the gel for about two weeks may lead to relief in the affected area.
An exercise is an activity that is carried out specifically to improve body functioning and to maintain general fitness. Exercises can be an effective way of reducing pain like lower backache, waist pain, etc. Pain-relieving exercises include mild yoga exercises, stretching, and meditation.
Acupuncture is also an alternative pain management therapy that originated in China. It practically involves inserting long tiny needles in the body. Acupuncture is believed to create balance in the body and restore good health. Additional benefits include relieving chronic back pain, headaches, pain in the face and neck, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and post-surgical pains.
Patients that use acupuncture have found it to be a painless alternative to reliving pain in different parts of their bodies. A patient will have to lie down, and the tiny needles will be inserted into their body, focusing on the body part, or parts, that is generating the pains. There is a general belief that acupuncture can lead to the generation of neuropeptides in the central nervous system.
Even though pain is sometimes a quick indicator of underlying health conditions, they can be annoying and incapacitating. Pain can be tolerated based on how severe it is. Some pains are acute while others are mild. Generally, pain can be complex, and so is the management.
Pain management therapies are highly recommended to alleviate chronic pains. The year 2020 revamp some old ideas of pain management while introducing new ones. Pain management therapies, as highlighted above, could be both physical and emotional. Some of the pain management trends you can try include medications, and device methods, such as the use of spinal cord stimulator like TENS.
Other trends that surfaced include alternative treatment like the use of herbs, imaginatively diverting the focus of the pain or even separating the pain from the rest of the body. Acupuncture and yoga exercises are also popular alternatives. While pain may not entirely go, with innovations and research, pain can be better managed in the year 2020 and beyond.