If you struggle with chronic pain, the greatest pain relief usually comes when you combine therapies—an approach called comprehensive pain management. For instance, you might add hands-on care from a physical therapist or chiropractor to relaxation techniques, medication, and exercise (cardio soothes pain by pumping out endogenous opioids, your body’s natural analgesic drugs). Other less well-known options include:
One non-prescription pill may not be enough for serious pain, and doubling up on anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin increases your risk of heart problems, stomach bleeding, and other side effects.
But you can combine any one of them with acetaminophen (aka Tylenol), which works via an entirely different mechanism. In fact, a recent University of Pittsburgh study found an acetaminophen/ibuprofen pairing more effective than opioids for dental pain. Just stick to the recommended daily dosage on the label for each product. Meanwhile, scientists continue to study new and safer formulations, including an ibuprofen plus arginine supplement that mitigates the drug’s potential cardiovascular harms.
Try a different pill—or patch
The same meds you pick up at the drugstore come in prescription strengths and also in gels, creams, and patches to apply directly where it hurts. There’s also a range of other drugs — since similar brain chemicals underly pain and depression, antidepressants are effective for headaches, facial pain, fibromyalgia, nerve damage, low back aches, and other types of chronic pain. The anti-seizure drugs block the release of pain-provoking neurotransmitters and are also prescribed for fibromyalgia and nerve irritation from shingles, among other painful conditions. And if you have to take an opioid, ask about your options; you’re less likely to become dependent on a synthetic drug than on oxycodone.
Intercept the message.
Pain sensations travel from body to brain along nerves; doctors have an increasing array of tools to jam the signals. Nerve blocks—injections of anesthetics or steroids—relieve pain in the arms, legs, or other specific areas. Implanting electrodes allows doctors to deliver tiny electrical pulses to the spine, relieving back pain or the type of ache that occurs when nerves are damaged by injury or infection. Singing nerve tissue away with heat, a technique called radiofrequency ablation, relieves some cases of neck and back pain. And in severe cases—such as after cancer—surgery can cut nerves completely.
For more information on treating chronic pain, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Warwick, RI.
Source: Mens Health