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What Do Pain Doctors Actually Do?

Life can throw many things at us that can lead to chronic pain. Car accidents.Too many hours at the computer without a break.Stress.Too much time on our feet in high heeled shoes. Repetitive motions at work or in hobbies, including gaming. Lifting heavy loads improperly at work or home.

Life can throw many things at us that can lead to chronic pain. Car accidents.Too many hours at the computer without a break.Stress.Too much time on our feet in high heeled shoes. Repetitive motions at work or in hobbies, including gaming. Lifting heavy loads improperly at work or home. Many military veterans, police officers and other emergency services providers have suffered injuries in the line of duty that have left them with lasting pain. Even our favorite healthy sports can lead to injuries that result in chronic pain. And as we age, we are more susceptible to conditions such as arthritis that lead to pain. But we don’t have to just soldier on in agony. A medical specialty has emerged focused on treating pain. Today, we can turn to pain doctors for help rather than continuing to suffer.

Pain clinics are often staffed with a range of experts. Some are doctors and others are non-medical specialists such as massage therapists. At these clinics, patients can benefit from a range of treatments designed to improve their quality of life by reducing or eliminating their chronic pain. So what are these treatments?

Treatments for Pain

•    One of the more obvious treatments is medication to block the pain. Some of the most common medications used for pain control are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen and corticosteroids. Some less common options are opioid-based drugs and antidepressants.

•    The next step up in pain control is using injections of local anesthesia including nerve blocks. A nerve block is when the local anesthesia is injected directly into a cluster of nerves.

•    Physical therapies such as specific exercises and stretches, massage, whirlpool therapy and other modalities can reduce pain and increase the range of motion of affected joints. It is critically important to work with a qualified expert to develop the right exercise program because simply exercising more can lead to further injury and pain.

•    Acupuncture has gained respect and popularity in the West over recent decades and is now a mainstream part of many pain clinics. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting very thin needles into the skin at specific points to improve the flow of energy, or chi, through a part of the body.

•    Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation uses a small device to electrically stimulate the nerves through the skin.

•    Relaxation techniques are very popular too. Tense, clenched muscles often play a role in chronic pain, and stress can too. Of course, living with chronic pain is itself stressful! Nearly everyone can benefit from learning some self-help techniques to relax, especially anyone suffering from chronic pain.

•    Surgery is generally a last resort, but in some cases it may necessary to cure the pain. The specific procedure depends on the cause of the pain.

Pain doctors have a wide range of techniques and treatments to help those suffering from chronic pain, and quite often they also have a qualified team of non-medical staff to work with patients as well.

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