Chronic pain is disruptive and prevents you from enjoying the daily activities, such as walking in the park. There are different levels of pain and if you suffer from chronic pain you are probably familiar with the method used by doctors to evaluate it. Patients are asked to choose the level of pain from a scale of four terms (no pain, mild, moderate or severe pain) or from a scale from 1 (no pain) to 10 (extreme pain). According to Dr. Lipnitsky, physical therapist, pain is highly subjective, because each person has a different pain tolerance level, so what is moderate pain for one might be close to no pain to another person.
There are two types of pain: acute and chronic pain and the treatments for them depend on what caused the pain. Acute pain can become chronic, if you ignore it for too long or you don’t apply the right treatment. Here are some ways to prevent acute pain from turning into chronic pain:
- Nerve blockers are used to block the pain in the affected area, making the nerves insensitive to pain
- Drug treatments with non-addictive pills
- Physical therapy, which includes the application of hot or cold packs, ultrasound and active therapies, like stretching, low impact aerobics and pain relief exercises
- Counseling, talk therapy, relaxation training, pain coping and stress management can improve your mental state and reduce the level of pain
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Electrical nerve stimulation, known as TEENS, which was developed in the 1960s and uses low electrical impulses to block the pain receptors, thus, relieve the pain
- Alternative therapies like hypnosis, biofeedback and acupuncture.
- You might have to try out all these treatments and choose one that fits your body. It is not uncommon for a mix of these therapies to work for pain relief, like acupuncture and stretching.
From acute pain to chronic pain
There are times when patients with acute pain develop chronic pain. The causes for this phenomenon are still unknown, especially since it doesn’t happen in all patients who suffer from acute pain due to similar conditions. When your pain turns into chronic pain, the doctor needs to study the factors which might lead to the switch between acute to chronic. These include repeated injuries, tissue damage and many more.
Chronic pain is addressed with physical therapy, chiropractic care and injections. If it becomes too debilitating or intrusive, your pain management doctor might recommend surgery. However, going under the knife might not be the ultimate cure for your chronic pain, so before considering surgery you should try out physical therapy. Pain management specialists can provide you with an effective treatment plan, after diagnosing your condition.
Because pain is often linked to emotional distress, the treatment should address your entire body. A complex approach to pain can relieve you from the added stress, pressure and tension, which build up inside your body and causes pain.