PAIN MANAGEMENT

TYPES OF PAIN

From arthritis to broken bones to fibromyalgia, there are many types of pain and just as many ways to treat them effectively. The field of pain management focuses on alleviating pain wherever it occurs in the body, and the application of treatments depends on the type, duration, and location of pain.

Pain can be classified into two broad types:

  • Acute pain is typically sudden, sharp, and traceable to a specific cause. Pain due to injury is usually acute, i.e. a sprained ankle, broken bone, or cut. Though its duration tends to be shorter, acute pain can last a long time in the case of complex injuries that take time to heal, like complications from pregnancy.
  • Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists for six or more months. It can be due to a chronic condition like arthritis, but it can sometimes be difficult to trace chronic pain to a single cause, as in the case of nerve disorders like shingles.
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These types of pain can overlap; acute pain from an injury may become chronic pain if the injury fails to heal. A pain management physician will take into account the unique factors of a particular injury or condition before making a judgment about course of treatment.

Some options for treating pain include:

  • Medication: Over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, aspirin, and ibuprofen can relieve certain forms of mild pain like headaches, while prescription painkillers are used only in more severe cases.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy helps to restore full range of motion after an injury and work through any resultant pain by stretching and strengthening muscles and teaching pain-relieving techniques.
  • Trigger Point Injections: Sometimes, muscles can come to contain trigger points, which are painful knots that form when muscles fail to relax. Injections can neutralize these trigger points by using an anesthetic.

A pain management physician can mix and match treatments as needed, until they find the right treatment that works for you.

Barbara Mack MD specializes in pain management using a variety of treatment techniques. If you suffer from acute or chronic pain that impacts your quality of life, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

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