Experiencing pain once in a while is normal, but if the pain is persistent and does not respond to over-the-counter medications, you may need medical help. Chronic pain can prevent you from enjoying your favorite activities and performing your tasks effectively. If you are interested in restoring the quality of your life, consult Dr. Garen Gajian to learn about the most effective approach for chronic pain management.
What is the difference between chronic and acute pain?
Everyone experiences pain every once in a while due to injuries, underlying health conditions, or general wear and tear. Acute pain occurs quickly and disappears if it has no causative factor, but chronic pain is the persistent pain that goes on for longer than six months and can continue long after the underlying cause has been treated.
Chronic pain may range from stabbing sharp or dull ache depending on the location and cause. Chronic pain can occur intermittently or daily. If you have persistent pain that lasts for more than three months even after treating its root cause, you should see a doctor.
What factors contribute to chronic pain?
Chronic pain can be due to a wide array of factors. Often, chronic pain in older adults is due to aging, which causes wear and tear. Chronic pain may also result from injuries that poorly heal and nerve damage. Other factors that contribute to chronic pain include:
- Wearing heels for an extended period
- Poor sitting posture
- Being overweight
- Traumatic injury
- Degenerative changes
- Carrying or lifting heavy objects improperly
Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia cancer, stomach ulcers, and multiple sclerosis are other causes of chronic pain.
How can your doctor diagnose chronic pain?
On your first appointment at Pain & Anesthesia Care, the professional team performs a neurological and physical exam to detect the underlying cause of your pain. They may also discuss your symptoms and meticulously observe the affected area for swelling, redness, or warmth. They may also test your flexibility, range of motion, and strength. Dr. Gehan may order laboratory tests, MRIs, or an X-ray for more information about your health. He may also use an Electromyography test to monitor your muscle activity.
What are the available treatments for chronic pain?
Your treatment plan depends on the underlying cause, the severity of your pain, and its location. The Pain & Anesthesia Care team often begins treatment with conservative, minimally invasive therapies before moving on to the invasive treatments. Your provider may recommend the following:
- Radiofrequency procedures
- Epidural injections
- Peripheral joint blocks
- Major joint injections
- Facet joint injections
Dr. Gehan may also recommend peripheral nerve stimulation to interrupt the transmission of pain signals to your brain. He may also recommend spinal cord stimulation to manage chronic pain in your spine.
Your doctor may use some of these treatments in conjunction with others to achieve maximum results. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits might also help to alleviate chronic pain. You may need to reduce your stress levels through deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. Low-intensity exercises such as swimming, 30-minute walks, and jogging may help manage your pain.
If chronic pain makes your life miserable, call the Pain & Anesthesia office or book an appointment online to begin your journey to wellness.