Are you suffering from chronic or debilitating pain? You’re not alone! As many as 40% of Americans experience chronic pain, and at least 25% of adults in the US have chronic joint pain.
Many people turn to pain medications to help manage their chronic pain. But over-the-counter options, like ibuprofen or aspirin, and prescription drugs, like opioids, come with unwanted side effects.
While these medicines may have a role to play in your pain management treatment, at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Arlington, Virginia, John Huffman, MD, and the care team offer additional pain management options that can eliminate or reduce your reliance on medication while providing effective relief.
Take a moment to learn about seven effective pain management options for your chronic pain!
1. Heat and cold therapy
While it may sound simple, heat and cold therapy can have a significant impact on reducing chronic pain. Ice or cold packs reduce inflammation while applying heat helps tight, sore muscles relax.
When using cold packs, be sure to avoid placing them directly on your skin. And keep ice on for 15-20 minutes at a time to avoid damaging your tissues. Alternating between hot and cold packs can provide optimal relief.
2. Steroid injections
Steroid injections, sometimes called cortisone shots, offer effective short-term relief for certain types of chronic pain. These injections reduce inflammation and interact with your neural receptors, helping numb pain sensations you experience from your condition. While not a long-term solution, a steroid injection can offer effective pain management that lasts up to several months.
3. Intrathecal drug delivery
Intrathecal drug delivery means using a pump (about the size of a hockey puck) implanted under your skin to deliver small doses of pain medication directly into your spinal fluid. Dr. Huffman normally uses this type of pain management with patients who have chronic spine pain, and it’s fully reversible. Dr. Huffman customizes the medication and dosage information based on your needs and programs it for automatic delivery through the catheter.
4. Spinal cord stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) delivers mild electrical pulses into the nerves along your spinal column. These pulses disrupt, change, or block the signals from these neural receptors, preventing them from reaching your brain. Dr. Huffman may recommend the device if you’ve tried other treatments without success, want to avoid major back surgery, or if you want a drug-free solution for your pain.
5. Regenerative medicine
You came equipped with a natural defense system that protects you from damage or injury and helps you heal. When your tissues are damaged or die, your body produces special cells to decrease inflammation, repair damaged tissues, and help you regain normal functioning.
At Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists, we use regenerative medicine to restore your body’s natural healing processes by using stem cells and platelet-rich plasma. These natural products promote cellular regeneration and healing.
6. Physical therapy
Physical therapy (PT) is the area of health care that works to ease pain, restore normal functioning and mobility, and promote healthy activity by stretching and strengthening the muscles and tendons affected by or contributing to your pain. At Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists, Dr. Huffman may include PT as part of your effective pain management treatment plan.
7. Massage therapy
Massage therapy offers an effective way to regain control of your health and wellbeing through the pressing, manipulating, and rubbing of your skin, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. There are different massage types and the methods range from very light to deep pressure.
Contact Dr. Huffman at the Northern Virginia office of Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists to learn more about your options for pain management or use our online tool to book an in-person or telehealth appointment now!