As an orthopedic office, part of our focus is on pain management. Many of our patient’s health conditions and symptoms are related to issues of acute and chronic pain. Although not all pain is related to the musculoskeletal system, there are many types of pain and injuries that can be greatly helped by an orthopedic doctor. For help with any type of pain, contact our office to learn more about how we can help you. We understand that regular pain can be difficult to live with, and we strive to provide our patients with the tools they need to return to a greater overall quality of life as soon as possible.
Depending on the cause of the pain, pain management can be simple or complex. For example, simple pain treatment is often achieved through a physical therapy and an epidural steroid injection. However, if the pain does not go away, the condition will require an application of a range of techniques and skills to treat it, and can include psychological support and counseling, chiropractic and physical therapy, interventional procedures, medication management, referral to other medical specialists, and acupuncture and other alternative therapies. All of these services and skills are essential, because pain can make daily tasks difficult.
What Guides Pain Treatment
Pain treatment is guided by the history of the patient’s pain, the duration, its intensity, and the relieving structures and conditions involved in causing the pain. For a structure to cause pain, it must contain nerve supply, its stimulation causes pain, and it is susceptible to injury. The science behind most of the interventions used for pain management is that they target a specific structure in the body that is responsible for causing the pain. Therefore, a pain treatment procedure is designed to identify the cause of the pain and to design the right treatment system for it.
Basic Types of Pain
There are many forms of pain that can be treated through pain management techniques, and they are divided into two broad groups: neuropathic pain and nociceptive pain.
• Neuropathic Pain: Neuropathic pain refers to that pain that is caused by a disease or damage to the nervous system. Occasionally, there is no direct source of pain, and the pain can crop up spontaneously. Common examples of this form of pain include diabetic peripheral neuropathy and shingles. Notably, this pain occurs when the nerves have been cut off, or perhaps due to a stroke.
• Nociceptive Pain: Most of the pain that occurs on the legs, back, and arms is nociceptive. This type of pain is further divided into somatic and radicular pain. Radicular pain is a form of pain that results from an irritation of nerve roots. The pain moves along the arm or the leg depending on the particular nerve that is irritated. The typical symptoms of this form of pain include numbness, radiculopathy, weaknesses, loss of reflexes in the nerve distribution network, and tingling. On the other hand, somatic pain refers to the type of pain that is limited to the thighs and the legs.
Three structures at the back are responsible for causing back pain, and they include the sacroiliac joint, facet joints, and the discs. The facet joints refer to the small joints that provide stability to the back and limit the extent you can twist or bend your back. On the other hand, the discs refer to the shock observers that are found in each of the bony structures of the spine. Finally, the sacroiliac joint refers to the joints at the buttocks area that serve in general walking and help to distribute weight from your upper body to the legs.
The treatment procedure for pain management depends on the type of the pain you are suffering from. Particularly, there are different treatment procedures for neuropathic pain and nociceptive pain.
• Neuropathic Pain Treatment: Though it is hard to treat the various forms of neuropathic pain, it can be successful if there is a careful diagnosis and an application of different treatment methods. Most of the treatments administered on this type of pain function by influencing how pain is handled in the body. Many of the treatments used for this form of pain work through a mechanism known as filtering. The typical medications include antidepressants, which function by influencing the levels of norepinephrine or serotonin, and antiseizure drugs that act on many neurotransmitters in the body. One of the most effective tools in treating neuropathic pain is the spinal cord stimulator, which stimulates the spine through a generation of electrical energy.
• Nociceptive Pain Treatment: The choice for a treatment method for this type of pain depends on the particular form of pain, its severity, and how well other options have worked on it. The most used methods in the treatment of nociceptive pain include medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, physiotherapy, surgery, psychological support, and neurostimulation/electrical stimulation.
Other Pain Management Options
There are other options that you can utilize to ease your chronic pain. Notably, these modalities and approaches can help you deal with both the emotional and physical parts of the pain. The most commonly utilized options for pain management include:
- TENS therapy
- Relaxation techniques
- Visual imagery
- Heat and cold therapy
- Massage and manipulation
There are many other options for pain relief, and our doctors can help you find the best combination of approaches.
To learn more about how we approach pain management with an orthopedic focus, contact our office today. You can feel free to ask our staff any questions that you might have about our diagnostic methods or treatment options. At your first appointment and consultation, you can expect to spend time with your surgeon discussing your medical history and symptoms. Along with diagnostic testing, this will help your doctor determine the best way to approach your needs for pain relief.
Don’t feel limited to dealing with chronic pain day in and day out. Let our experienced team help you find the relief that you need in order to live a full and pain free life.