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Chronic Pain Management (Part 2)

When you struggle with lifelong pain, be it as a result of one or more types of arthritis, leftover trauma from an accident, a damaged or slipped disk, fibromyalgia or for any other reason, you have no choice but to learn to cope. But fortunately, there are many non-pharmacological ways to supplement medication to help ease the pain and better your quality of life. We looked at massage, mentally guided relaxation and stress management last time. Some other tactics include:

  1. Stretching and Exercise

Even though it may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you are in pain, mild routine exercise is actually one of the best things for chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Gentle movement such as yoga, walking or swimming can help reduce chronic pain by encouraging blood flow to the damaged areas, increasing circulation and strengthening the muscles surrounding the troubled joints. Stretching is also an excellent way to strengthen the effected areas, increase motility and flexibility and subsequently help reduce pain over time. Doing too much exercise or the wrong kind can negatively impact your condition, therefor be sure to check with your doctor (or one of our qualified DocChat physicians) before beginning an exercise regimen to ensure it won’t be damaging to your condition.

  1. Personal Pain Management Devices

Another tool that may help some reduce the effects of chronic pain is a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine. Physiotherapists frequently use TENS machines to help with such conditions as tendonitis, bursitis, and certain types of arthritis. TENS machines work by sending electrical currents of varying degrees of intensity into the afflicted area via electrodes. The idea is that the nerves in the area are stimulated enough that it can scramble the brain’s overactive pain signals and stimulate the area of the brain that releases natural painkilling neurochemicals like oxytocin instead. While the empirical effectiveness of TENS machines as a pain reliever hasn’t yet been conclusively backed up, there are ongoing studies looking into it as well as millions of people who respond positively to the treatment. If you get the chance to try TENS machines in physiotherapy, it is well a try as they can be excellent for many people. Should you enjoy the experience, you can invest in portable personal TENS machine units to use whenever and wherever you may need it.

  1. Trigger Point and Corticosteroid Injections

Trigger point injections consist of a doctor injecting your problem area with a tiny needle containing either anesthetic, a saline solution or a long-acting corticosteroid. In some cases, a ‘dry needle’ is inserted which can deactivate the trigger point which may alleviate some pain. In the case of corticosteroids such as methyl prednisone, the steroid can bring down pain and inflammation in the area for weeks, months or even longer in some cases. It can be a highly effective non-opiate form of chronic pain management for some people.

Keep an eye out for Chronic Pain Management (Part 3) in the future! Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you return again soon.