A third of the American population suffers from chronic pain and what is even more troubling is the fact that most these patients fall into an addiction of the prescribed painkillers. Previously medication was the only known treatment for chronic pain and millions of opioids were prescribed every year for patients of chronic pain.
But now the situation is changing as new technologies emerge and alternative remedies are becoming more and more popular amongst the masses.
There are many factors that cause chronic pain including herniated discs, narrowing of the spine or whiplash from accidents. Determining the root cause of the pain is a crucial to successfully treating and managing the pain.
An important reason why it is critical to single out the cause of pain is to keep the patients from becoming solely dependent on the medication. There are alternative treatment options from physical therapy to even surgeries to help manage chronic pain.
Radiofrequency neurotomy is one example of a nonsurgical option to treat back pain. It is a procedure which can be performed in the outpatient department in half an hour. The medical professionals use a heat probe to desensitize the joint nerves at the site of pain. Patients receive the neurotomy every six to the nine months to witness positive results.
Many prefer it to taking oral painkillers as it relaxes the muscles and does not leave one feeling drowsy and heavy. There are none of the side-effects you receive from taking pain medication.
If you are looking for surgery, then Peripheral nerve simulation or PNS is one viable treatment for patients suffering from chronic pain of the nerves. The PNS procedure has made huge leaps and bounds over the past 10 years.
It includes a small electrical device being implanted in the epidural space which is right next to the peripheral nerve. The implant intersects pain signals and instead of comprehending pain, the brain just receives a hum. The simulator shows encouraging results within a week.
Patients have reported being able to work again, help around the house and even go out for a run after PNS.
Let Others Know
There are many options other than pain medication available to treat chronic pain which doctors and other healthcare professionals are eager to let their patients know. There are so many people who are not even aware of all their choices and subscribe to the long-term painkiller plan.
These alternatives are not only essential for preventing addiction but also treat depression and other psychological issues associated with the pain. The pain induces people to separate themselves from social gathering which has even more adverse effects, health-wise. Patients of chronic pain become inactive and reclusive causing the illness to progress to an even worse state.
Dr. Tom Macek encourages you to share this post with your family and friends so that ignorance does not cause another patient to head down the path of addiction.