Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Chronic pain and how to manage it

Chronic pain can have a significant impact on both our physical, relational, and emotional well being.

My simple approach to treating chronic pain is as follows:
  1. Treat the cause.  For example, a severe bulging disc with nerve impingement may benefit from surgery, or a steroid injection around the nerve root.
  2. Treat the pain. We can treat the pain with non pharmacological methods such as heat, ice, TENS, massage and physiotherapy.  We can also treat the pain with  pharmacological methods such as analgesics, including anti-inflamatories, panadol, and less ideally, narcotics.  Narcotics carry with it a high risk of dependence, and hence, needs to be used with caution.
  3. Increase the threshold to pain.  This can be achieved by improving mood, treating depression and anxiety, and improving coping skills.
Chronic pain is not easy to treat, and often require a multidisciplinary approach.  Some may benefit from a referral to a specialised pain clinic.  Please ask your Doctor to explore whether this is an appropriate option for you.

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