Medicine is a complex field, one that is constantly producing new therapies. If you haven’t been to your primary care physician or a pain management doctor in a while, you may be surprised to learn how much pain therapies have changed. If you suffer from common chronic pain conditions like back or joint pain, then you have probably used the most common treatment options like OTC medications or ice packs, but there are some top new pain management treatments that pain doctors may now recommend that you have probably never heard of.
- Meditation: In recent years, traditional medicine has expanded the boundaries of acceptable treatment methodologies. Western clinicians have reexamined many forms of medicine that are common to other cultures and have coopted many of them. Meditation is not the immediate response that comes to mind to many chronic pain sufferers, but mounting research suggests that peaceful thinking combined with low impact physical exercises like those in yoga or tai chi can produce significant pain relief. Stress is a known aggravator of pain, so many pain management doctors are encouraging patients to utilize stress management techniques like meditation.
- Radiofrequency ablation: If your pain is caused by a misfunctioning nerve rather than an injury, then you may be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation. This method will identify the dysfunctional nerve using an ultrasound-guided injection to the suspected area. Once the nerve is identified, the pain doctor will apply a high frequency current electrode that destroys the nerve. This pain relief may last from six months to several years.
- Spinal cord stimulator: If you have back or limb pain and have found that other treatment options are ineffective, then you may wish to consider a more invasive therapy. Pain doctors can now implant spinal cord stimulators which direct a mild current to your spinal cord which inhibits pain signals from the affected region of your body to your brain. You can adjust the current intensity using a remote. In successful cases, patients experience a 30 to 70 percent reduction in pain intensity.
- Intramuscular stimulation: A little known therapy that is gaining in popularity is intramuscular stimulation which involves inserting a pin into muscle trigger points to induce relaxation. Intended to relieve chronic pain due to unrelenting muscle contraction, IMS has helped patients who suffer from ongoing neuropathic pain following an injury. Most patients must complete at least 8 sessions to experience lasting pain relief.
- Low dose naltrexone: There are entire families of medications that offer pain relief including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, or opioids like oxycodone, but new medications are coming on the market that don’t carry many of the serious risks that these medications do. One of the new pharmacological therapies involves minute doses of naltrexone. In much larger doses, naltrexone is used as an opioid addiction treatment, but at much smaller doses—1.5 to 4.5 mg a day—it relieves pain by boosting your body’s production of endorphins.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
M.D. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of Robert Moghim, M.D. and do not necessarily represent and are not intended to represent the views of the company or its employees.