According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 40% of adults in the United States have chronic pain problems. If you have a chronic pain condition and current treatments aren’t helping, triple board-certified physiatrist Stanley Mathew, MD of American Rehabilitation Medicine in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Dubuque, Iowa, can help. Stanley Mathew, MD specializes in using the most advanced alternatives to opioid painkillers for chronic pain management, along with a wide range of physical and other therapies. If you’d like to find out more, call American Rehabilitation Medicine today to schedule an appointment or use the online booking form.
What is chronic pain management?
Chronic pain management aims to minimize incurable pain and improve the quality of life for people who have long-term pain conditions.
Chronic pain affects every aspect of your life, beyond the sensation of pain itself. It can affect your capacity to move freely or even walk, often severely limiting your abilities in everyday life.
It can interfere with your work, and many people can’t work at all because of chronic pain. Family life and relationships can suffer, and depression commonly affects people who are in constant pain.
Traditionally, doctors prescribe pain medication as the primary therapy for people who have chronic pain conditions. There are a wide variety of different types of pain meds available, some of which can potentially cause unpleasant side effects as well as addiction.
Furthermore, pain medication doesn’t fix the problem, just covers it up. Stanley Mathew, MD at American Rehabilitation Medicine has specialist expertise in using alternative approaches to achieve effective pain management that can reduce or eliminate your reliance on medication.
What conditions can cause chronic pain?
There are numerous conditions that can cause chronic pain, including:
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Neuralgia (nerve pain)
Injuries that don’t heal properly can often become chronic pain problems. Diseases like diabetes and shingles can also cause chronic pain because of complications like diabetic peripheral neuropathy and post-herpetic neuralgia.
What might be in my chronic pain management plan?
Stanley Mathew, MD creates every patient’s pain management plan individually so that it provides the most effective forms of treatment for your condition. Some of the approaches he uses include:
- Ultrasound therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Back braces
- Trigger point therapy
- Epidural steroid injections
- Facet joint injections
- Medial branch nerve block
- Selective nerve root block
- Sacroiliac joint injection
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
- Intrathecal baclofen pump
- Psychological counseling
Understanding why you have chronic pain and what it means can be liberating for patients. For instance, pain signals are normally an urgent sign that you need to attend to an injury or illness. In chronic pain, the sensations are either incorrect or have outlived their usefulness.
Knowing that the pain isn’t doing anything useful enables you to embrace physical rehabilitation more readily.
Emotional support can also help by reducing stress and providing an outlet for negative emotions, which can be very beneficial for pain patients.
What alternative therapies help chronic pain?
Evidence-based research by mainstream scientists proves that treatments and therapies like acupuncture, meditation, and yoga can help with chronic pain.
Learning to relax your muscles can make a significant difference in the severity of pain and how long it lasts. These methods all help you relax fully and manage stress.
It might be difficult to believe that simple lifestyle changes could make much difference to your pain. However, in many ways, they are fundamental to pain management.
Losing excess weight relieves unnecessary strain on your body, which reduces pain. Eating a healthier diet and regular exercise promotes better internal health and stronger muscles and bones.
Deconditioning is another problem that can affect chronic pain patients if they’re inactive or on bed rest. It’s a particular problem in elderly patients. Preventing deconditioning involves a multifaceted approach consisting of:
- Turning and positioning
- Medical management
- Psychological support