Pain Management - An Overview

Introduction

Pain management for orthopedic conditions consists of a variety of treatments aimed at reducing pain.  There are many types and causes of orthopedic pain.  Orthopedic pain is commonly caused by injury and aging.  Back pain may result from irritated or compressed nerves and herniated discs.  Arthritis pain may be caused by degeneration associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Pain management techniques can consist of stress reduction, psychology, physical therapy and exercise, medications, and surgical treatments.

Orthopedic pain can be acute or chronic.  Acute pain occurs suddenly from injury or structural damage.  Acute pain is limited in duration.  It may last for a few moments or months.  Acute pain goes away as healing takes place and fewer pain signals are sent to the brain.

Chronic pain is an ongoing condition.  Chronic pain may come and go or be continuous.  It may be difficult to pinpoint the exact source of chronic pain.  Arthritis is a common cause of chronic pain. 

Treatment

Pain management treatments are very individualized.  The type of treatments and techniques that are used will depend on the cause and extent of your pain.  Your doctor can diagnose the cause of your pain by obtaining your medical history, performing a physical examination, and reviewing your medical imaging studies.  You may use a variety of techniques to provide pain relief or make your pain tolerable.

Stress and tension can increase pain.  You can learn techniques to help you relax.  Improving your lifestyle can help, too.  It is beneficial to get plenty of sleep, maintain a healthy weight, and eat a well-balanced diet.  You should avoid cigarettes, illegal drugs, and alcohol.

Weak muscles lead to more pain than healthy strong muscles do.  It is helpful to perform regular stretching and strengthening exercises.  Physical therapists can set up an exercise program just for you.  They can also teach you how to use proper lifting techniques and postures to prevent injuries.

There are many types and strengths of medications to relieve pain.  Pain medication delivery methods vary.  They may be in pill form, liquid, patches that go on the skin, or injected directly into the source of pain, or into other pertinent areas.

Surgical treatments may be appropriate after considering other pain relief methods.  There are a variety of surgical methods for pain management.  Spinal cord stimulation involves the surgical placement of a small device in your back or abdomen.  The device transmits an electrical current to your spinal cord so you feel a tingling sensation instead of pain.  Small pain pumps can be placed under your skin to deliver a continuous flow of pain relieving medication.  Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) uses heat to treat injured tissues and nerves.  Percutaneous Stereotactic Rhizotomy (PSR) uses heat to destroy the nerves that cause pain.

April 30, 2021 - 8:35am
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