Chronic pain – or non-specific pain which lasts seemingly forever – affects more than 100 million people in the U.S. and leads to more than $600 billion in losses to the nation’s economy. While its economic, physical, and psychological tolls are well-known, its cause is a mystery. Thankfully, relief is within reach.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is described as pain with a duration of three months or more. Patients suffering from it can be perplexed as its cause is often hard to identify, but it also may result in other stressors or medical issues. Once physically fit and active, chronic pain could drive you to avoid activities such as lifting weights, high-intensity workouts, everyday house chores, or tasks that are work-related. You may experience psychological and emotional shifts, anxiety, depression, mood swings, lack of appetite or binge eating, and other related problems. Persistent pain should be treated, so see a doctor when possible.
THE BEST OPTIONS FOR TREATING CHRONIC PAIN
- Ketamine infusion therapy. After ketamine proved its worth as a battlefield anesthetic for American troops in Southeast Asia in the 1960s, people soon discovered it had other psychoactive properties. In the 1970s, researchers began exploring it as a method for reducing symptoms of not only chronic pain and other physical ailments but mental health disorders, too. In 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug administration approved esketamine as a nasal spray to treat depression and, potentially, other conditions.
- Over the counter (OTC) pain medication, or medicine that can be bought without a prescription. Milder forms of pain can be relieved by OTC medications like acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. Acetaminophen and NSAIDs relieve the pain of muscle aches and stiffness, while NSAIDs lessen inflammation and irritation. Topical pain relievers may also provide short-term, temporary relief.
- Trigger point injection is a method used to treat painful regions of muscle that contain trigger points, or clusters of muscle which form when muscles cannot relax. During this therapy, a doctor or technician, using a tiny needle, infuses a local anesthetic – sometimes sterile saltwater or a steroid is injected into a trigger point. When this happens, the trigger point becomes inactive and the discomfort is relieved. Normally, a brief treatment episode will lead to sustained relief.
- Surgical implants are rarely used but the two main kinds are intrathecal drug delivery and spinal cord stimulation implants. The first method sends medication directly into the spine; the second relies on electrical stimulation of the spinal cord and specific nerves.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy, more frequently referred to TENS, uses electrical stimulation to reduce pain. During therapy, low-voltage electrical current gets delivered through electrodes which are put on the skin by the source of pain.
- Bioelectric therapy reduces pain by delaying pain messages to your brain. Bioelectric therapy also urges the body to make chemicals called endorphins, also released through exercise, that reduce or eliminate painful feelings by blocking the communication of pain from getting delivered to your brain.
- Physical therapy helps to lessen pain by utilizing special techniques that enhance movement and function damaged by a disability or injury.
- Exercise. Short-term resting can alleviate pain, but too much rest can actually boost pain and leave you at bigger risk of injury when you again try movement. Research proves that regular exercise can reduce pain in the long run by enhancing muscle strength, tone, and flexibility.
- Psychological treatment. If you experience chronic pain, you may feel anger, sadness, hopelessness, or despair. Pain can disrupt your sleep, alter your personality, and interfere with your relationships and work. In turn, anxiety and depression, lack of sleep, and feelings of tension can make the pain even worse. After a diagnosis, your doctor may recommend different therapies, including ketamine infusion therapy or nasal spray to treat the symptoms.
- Alternative therapies like acupuncture, and some nutritional supplements. You may try osteopathic (bone) and chiropractic manipulation therapies, touch therapy, certain herbal therapies, and dietary changes to reduce pain.
- Mind-body therapies are regimens that are meant to boost your mind’s ability to affect the symptoms and functions of your body.
- Chiropractic treatment is recommended most often for non-surgical care for back pain. Some trials revealed improvements in patients after undergoing chiropractic manipulation.
If you suffer from chronic pain, don’t wait to get help. When over-the-counter pain medicine or topical creams fail to offer relief, talk to your healthcare provider about other options, including ketamine infusion therapy for chronic pain. If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the innovative new treatment option we offer.