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Chronic pain is one of the most widespread conditions in the world affecting the health and quality of life of about 17-20 percent of the total adult population. Approximately one third of North Americans experience some kind of acute or chronic pain, with every one in five people reporting that their pain is constant. This makes pain management a highly essential health care system focus.
Pain is generally a signal of an ailment or an injury and has values in this respect as it causes the person to seek treatment. It is now considered to be the 6th vital sign. Acute pain usually goes away when the root cause of pain is addressed. However in good percentage of patient the nervous system malfunctions and although there is no apparent reason for continuing pain, the patient is in constant pain. Any pain symptom persisting longer than 3-6 months is considered chronic pain condition.
What’s more interesting to learn is that the incidence of acute and chronic pain conditions is consistently increasing. So is the use of pain-alleviating medicine. While adoption of a more sedentary lifestyle and aging population have contributed greatly to this trend, it is important to consider the fact that medicines alone are not sufficient to offer optimal pain control and enhance the quality of a life of a patient. Instead, there is a need for a more holistic pain management approach that focuses on the use of medication along with physical therapy and various complementary techniques, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage. Chronic pain often is associated with many psychological symptoms that further complicate the management of pain with treatments reliant only on medication.
In this article, we have listed the techniques that are proven to help with the relief of pain and contribute to the quality of life of a patient suffering from chronic pain by allowing them to perform their day to day tasks in a less suffering manner.
Pharmacological Management of Pain
The pharmacological management of pain focuses on the use of a variety of medications to suppress and treat pain. Opioids and NSAIDS remain the two most popular classes of pain-relieving medicines in patients suffering from muscle and joint pain conditions such as
and arthritis. However, their use is associated with a number of side effects, such as constipation, gastric distress, dry mouth, medication dependency, etc.
Physiotherapy & conditioning
Unlike allopathic medicine that focuses on disease management, physical therapy aims to promote health and manage pain by improving patient functioning and quality of life. Physiotherapists use a variety of physical agents such as heat, infra-red lights, ultrasound, laser, manual therapy and electrical stimulation current such as TENS to manage pain itself. In addition, physiotherapists employ a variety of exercises to improve the physical mobility, strength, and vitality of the patient, as well as to prevent the detrimental effects of immobilization, such as muscle weakness, joint stiffness, and mood changes. Based on the root cause of pain, level of mobility and need for physical support, occupational and physical therapists also recommend the use of walking aids to enable patients to do their day to day tasks on their own.
Pain management requires complementary Therapies
The primary objective of complementary therapies is to improve the well-being of the patient and thus influence pain. While there are different complementary techniques that are used to treat pain, the most popular of them include:
- Massage therapy
- Nutritional supplements
- Joint manipulation
- Psychology & CBT
- Supplements such as Vitamin D & omega 3
The primary benefit of using physical therapy and complementary techniques is that their use is not associated with undesirable side effects. However, in order to achieve maximum benefit and optimal pain relief, it is important to seek assistance from a professional physiotherapist or chiropractor who is fully trained and experienced in providing pain management services to patients with different musculoskeletal conditions.
To learn more about the use of physiotherapy in pain management or to book an appointment with our North York pain management
clinic, please call at 416 444 4800.