If you’re a chronic pain patient, you might be wondering what current options are available to assist you in managing your daily pain. If you haven’t already, discuss your current pain situation with your doctor. He or she may refer you to a specialist, or a pain management doctor. These are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of pain and its underlying conditions.
Pain Management Options
There are many ways to manage pain. Among them are over-the-counter medications such as Aleve (naproxen) or Motrin (ibuprofen), prescription pain medications, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, physical therapy, and alternative therapies such as massage or T.E.N.S. treatment.
What to Expect
Your pain management doctor will conduct a thorough exam, possibly including CT or MRI scans to determine what might be causing your pain. This is the first step in treating chronic pain and may seem to be more of the same of what your family doctor might have already done. But these tests and a comprehensive medical history will help your doctor determine what treatment is best for you.
Your pain management doctor might, depending on the cause and severity of your pain, choose to start with a less aggressive approach, such as over-the-counter medications and/or physical therapy. Or, he might give you prescription medications like meloxicam, which is in the same class of drugs as Aleve and Motrin, but in prescription-strength. But, if your pain is more extreme, you might get a prescription for something more powerful.
Other medications have proven effective at managing pain, such as gabapentin, an anti-seizure drug used frequently in those with nerve pain from diabetes or fibromyalgia. Antidepressants have also shown effectiveness against chronic pain, especially for those whom pain prevents from sleeping well.
Some alternative therapies have proven to help reduce chronic pain. These include the use of a T.E.N.S. machine, which uses electrical stimulus through the skin to override pain signals in the nerves. Massage can also be beneficial for chronic pain sufferers. Other types of therapy, such as biofeedback and heat and cold therapy, also show promise.
If you’re a chronic pain sufferer, make an appointment to ask your primary care physician what options are available to you. You don’t have to feel like you’re all alone. Your doctor will discuss available therapies and point you in the right direction.