Pain Treatment Options for Managing Chronic Pain
April 7, 2023
Are you struggling with chronic pain and looking for relief? Chronic pain is a condition that affects millions of people and can be especially difficult to deal with. Fortunately, there are many different options available for treating the different causes of chronic pain, and, at Greater Austin Pain Center, Austin’s foremost pain management clinic, we offer all of them.
In this comprehensive guide, learn more about how we define chronic pain, the many treatment options available to you, and how our Austin pain doctors can help you better manage your chronic pain today.
What Is Chronic Pain?
While pain is often a temporary and short lived sensation for many people, those with chronic pain experience it is anything but. That’s because chronic pain—unlike acute pain—is characterized by pain that’s persistent, even after your body heals from whatever may have caused it. To make matters more perplexing, chronic pain can occur anywhere in the body, and it may occur for seemingly unknown reasons. You can experience it all the time, or it may come and go.
Finally, because chronic pain can last for many months or longer, it can often interfere with your daily lifestyle—such as work or social activities—which can be a burden on yourself and others. This is why chronic pain is often correlated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping—all of which can make the pain worse.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
To really understand what causes chronic pain, it helps to understand that there are, in fact, three distinct types of pain:
- Nociceptive pain, the most common type of pain, is caused by injury or damage to the body, such as a broken bone, a burn, or a cut. It’s usually sharp and localized, and recedes after your body has healed completely.
- Neuropathic pain is caused by damage or dysfunction of the nervous system, such as pain caused by sciatica, shingles, or peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathic pain is often felt as burning, tingling, or numbness and can be continuous or intermittent.
- Nociplastic pain is caused by changes in the brain or spinal cord. While often associated with fibromyalgia and other “chronic pain conditions' ', nociplastic pain is caused by an error in the brain’s pain processing abilities—which can cause your central nervous system to be hyper-excitable and more sensitive to pain.
While chronic pain is typically associated with nociplastic pain, all three pain types can be chronic, and will often continue if you don’t address the cause. That’s why chronic pain can be caused by so many factors, including those that are readily apparent, such as from disease or injury, and those that are not so clear, as is in the case of inflammation or nerve damage.
An Overview of Treatments for Chronic Pain
For as many different causes of chronic pain as there are, there are just as many (if not more) ways to treat it. That’s why for most people, chronic pain can be managed with a combination of non-invasive and/or invasive treatments, and physical therapy.
Learn more about these different categories of treatment below.
Non-Invasive Treatments for Chronic Pain
As the name implies, non-invasive treatments are those that don’t involve open surgery, and are typically associated with less pain, a shorter hospital stay, and fewer complications. Non-invasive treatment options include joint injections, steroid injections, nerve blocks, and various stimulation and decompression treatments, which can be effective in reducing pain and providing relief. They also include various medications, topical creams, gels, and patches.
Invasive Treatments for Chronic Pain
Depending on the cause of your pain, surgical interventions may be an option, if not your best option for providing lasting relief. That’s where invasive treatments—more aggressive treatments that are used when used when non-invasive treatments are not enough—can be of help. These treatments include a range of different surgeries, such as spinal cord stimulator surgery or kyphoplasty, which can reduce pain and increase mobility for those who have not found relief with non-surgical treatments.
Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain
Finally, physical therapy—a type of therapy that’s used to preserve and restore mobility—can be an especially helpful part of managing chronic pain. Because physical therapy focuses on strengthening and stretching the muscles around the affected area, it can, under proper supervision, help reduce pain and improve flexibility and range of motion.
At Greater Austin Pain Center, we’ll often recommend physical therapy exercises in conjunction with our other treatments, to help reduce inflammation, increase strength and relieve tension—which can help reduce and better manage chronic pain, as well as minimize the need for pain management medications, such as prescription opioids.
Discover Your Ideal Chronic Pain Treatment in Austin Today!
While there are indeed many treatments for chronic pain available, it’s always important to find the one that works best for you and your unique condition. That’s why no matter what type of pain management treatment you think you need, it can be especially helpful to discuss it with a professional. That’s how our expert pain doctors can help!
At Greater Austin Pain Center, our professional pain specialists can help determine your best course of action with regard to managing chronic pain, and recommend a custom treatment program that takes your current lifestyle and medical history into account. Rest assured, with the right combination of treatments, we can help you manage your chronic pain and improve your quality of life. And we’ll be here to help you do it at every step of the way.
Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive pain treatment programs or to schedule a consultation at one of our pain clinics in Kyle, Austin, San Marcos, or Dripping Springs!