Between the Sheets


Causes of Chronic Pain

The pain is ongoing, and there seems to be no relief in sight. Many factors can contribute to chronic pain, including neuropathy, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, back or spinal injuries, or complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) (MedlinePlus.gov), to name but a few. No matter the diagnosis, you hurt and are looking for some relief from the ongoing anguish that has become part of your everyday life. Most of these are chronic illnesses with no hope for a cure, only treatment.

Medical Treatments for Chronic Pain

In www.WebMD.com’s article Chronic Pain Relief New Treatments, several coping mechanisms are listed.

  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): RFA is done close to the nerve causing pain, using a heated needle to “zap” the offending nerve, deadening it. This treatment can last from eight months to a year. A newer type is available, called cooled RFA, which may prove more effective, according to Anita Gupta, DO, PharmD, Co-chair of the American Society of Anesthesiologists Ad Hoc Committee on Opioid Prescription Abuse.
  • Pain Shots: These are directed to where they can be the most effective. There are several types:
    • Nerve Root Blocks
    • Epidural Steroid Injections and
    • Trigger Point Injections
  • Pain Pump: This is set up at the base of your spine to deliver continuous medication to ease the pain.
  • Opioids: There are several types used by doctors to alleviate their patient’s chronic pain, such as Fentanyl, Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Methadone and Oxycodone (OxyContin). Although the danger for abuse and addiction to these drugs are widely known, sometimes they are the only source of relief for those suffering constantly for whatever reason.
  • Chiropractor: Adjustments can help with pain, and usually last a month. But be sure to go to a reputable chiropractor, one who utilizes an X-Ray machine.

Alternative Treatments for Chronic Pain

According to an informal poll taken on Facebook, there are many different methods that sufferers utilize besides the strictly medical. They include:

  • Yoga: This ancient art stretches and lengthens the muscles and lubricates joints. It was the most popular response to the survey.
  • A Good Night’s Sleep: This can be accomplished by practicing good sleep hygiene. Some tips include a dark room, no television one hour before bed and no naps. Just as importantly, your mattress should be adjustable. People differed in that some prefer a firm mattress, and others a softer. One respondent claimed a mattress that contoured to her body helped alleviate the pain, such as one made with memory foam.
  • Dry Needling: Also known as Myofascial Trigger Point Dry Needling, it is the use of either acupuncture needles or hollow-core hypodermic needles for therapy of muscle pain.
  • Diet: There were several responses which included what was eaten. A paleo/keto diet with no wheat, corn or sugar and only local grass-fed dairy was said to “reduce … pain significantly” according to chronic pain sufferer Desja Moryn. A clean diet was also mentioned, one free of sugar, and going vegan.
  • Turmeric: An Indian-based spice, it is known to have great healing abilities. One respondent said he mixed his turmeric with black pepper and coconut oil and brought it to a boil. Al Richard, who also experiences chronic pain, combined this paste with hot water and drank it. He claims it takes several weeks to be effective and is well worth the wait for the relief.
  • Massage: Although this only provides temporary relief, roughly a week, its benefits are unmistakable and obvious.
  • Vitamin D: Not having enough Vitamin D in your system may be linked to chronic pain. It’s important to take this vitamin, and have bloodwork done to ensure your levels are normal. You can also glean Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight (but wear sunscreen).
  • Meditation: Learning to focus your mind and sink into deep meditation can alleviate some symptoms.

Hope for Chronic Pain Sufferers

While for many there is no cure for most conditions, those who experience constant aching have some remedies at their disposal to alleviate their discomfort. These can only be as effective as they are used. In the long run, anything that assuages the agony some people suffer is a tool to be utilized in the lessening of chronic pain.

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