There are a variety of options for the treatment of chronic pain. Under the general category of medications, there are both oral and topical therapies for the treatment of chronic pain. Oral medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, and opioids. Also available are medications that can be applied to the skin, whether as an ointment or cream or by a patch. Some of these patches work by being placed directly on top of the painful area where the active drug, such as lidocaine, is released. Others, such as fentanyl patches, may be placed at a location far from the painful area. Some medications are available over the-counter (OTC) while others may require a prescription.
There are many things that may help with your pain which do not involve medications. These things may help relieve some pain and reduce the medications required to control your pain. Examples include exercises, best performed under the direction of a physical therapist. There are also alternative modalities, such as acupuncture. Transcutaneous Electro-Nerve Stimulator (TENS) units use pads that are placed on your skin to provide stimulation around the area of pain and may help to reduce some types of pain symptoms.
Finally, there are interventional techniques that involve injections into or around various levels of the spinal region. These can involve relatively superficial injections into the painful muscles, called trigger point injections, or may involve more invasive procedures. There are multiple procedures that range from epidural injections for pain involving the neck and arm or the back and leg, facet injections into the joints that allow movement of the neck and back to injections for burning pain of the arms or legs.
For more information on treating chronic pain, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in South Kingstown, RI.