If you’re seeking relief from chronic pain, you should know you have choices. There is hope for relief.
Talk with your doctor about the right treatment for your chronic pain. Not all treatments may be applicable to your type of pain. Treatments include:
Doctors often try medications first. Because each person responds differently to medication, your doctor may try a variety of doses and drugs. Medications range from over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, to stronger pain medicines.
Physical therapy attempts to build or recondition muscles – allowing you to move more normally and with less pain. Your doctor may recommend passive physical therapy, such as massage and applying heat/cold, or active treatments, such as exercise.
Chronic pain can bring stress that affects you, your relationships, and your body. Psychologists are available to work with you on relaxation techniques and coping and self-monitoring skills.
Your doctor may do tests, such as MRI or CT scans, to look for the cause of your pain. If the test reveals a problem that is known to be corrected by surgery, your doctor may recommend this treatment.
Therapeutic nerve blocks are local anesthetic and/or steroid injections given at the origin of pain. Nerve blocks usually provide temporary pain relief. If your pain is not managed after multiple injections, your doctor may consider other treatments.
Medical devices, such as Medtronic spinal cord stimulators (also known as neurostimulation systems) or drug pumps (intrathecal drug delivery systems), are surgically placed devices that modulate pain signals before they reach the brain:
Unlike some surgeries, these treatments are reversible. Your doctor can turn it off or surgically remove the system. In addition, you can try these therapies temporarily before you receive a permanent implant.
With neuroablation, doctors destroy (usually with heat) the nerves that serve as pathways to the brain. Neuroablation is often a last resort when other treatments have failed.