If you are living with chronic pain, or know someone who is, you’ll probably be only too well aware of what a struggle it can be to get an accurate diagnosis in the first place, and then find a treatment that helps. Many people with chronic pain conditions find they are relying on painkillers to get through the day, but if you or someone you love is living with chronic pain, there are alternative ways of easing the symptoms.
The Problem of Diagnosing Chronic Pain
It makes sense that doctors will want to test for possible medical conditions that could be causing your pain, but it can be a long process going through all the tests and scans and finding little or no information other than that another definable condition has been eliminated.
It’s also an emotional roller-coaster waiting to find out what could be wrong; you feel partly relieved when another serious condition is ruled out, and partly disappointed that you still don’t know what is causing your pain. After everything else has been discounted, you’ll be left with a diagnosis of some form of chronic pain condition, depending on your symptoms. Conventional medical approaches often use painkilling medications to help people cope with chronic pain, but there is plenty of evidence that physical therapies and alternative treatments can also be effective.
Alternative Therapy Options
Chronic pain tends to make people less and less mobile, as pain is usually a sign that something is wrong, and that you should rest. With chronic pain conditions, the pain isn’t serving any useful function, so rather than doing as little as possible, it’s far better to be active as much as you can. Gentle forms of exercise such as stretching, yoga, tai chi, and swimming are all excellent ways to keep your body fit without overdoing it.
Acupuncture is another option, as well as massage treatments, chiropractic, and relaxation techniques. There’s also a range of medical treatments available, such as prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma injections, stem cell transplant therapy, and electric sympathetic nerve blocks. Using these therapies helps reduce dependence on painkilling medications, which may become addictive. If you are worried about being too reliant on medication, then seek medical advice on withdrawal from oxycodone or other strong painkillers.
The Future of Chronic Pain Treatments
There’s an increased emphasis being placed on treating the causes of pain rather than the effects, and the availability of new and effective forms of treatment is increasing. General practice doctors are also becoming more aware of the range of potential treatment methods, which will help you get effective treatment sooner.
If you are currently taking painkillers for chronic pain, don’t suddenly stop taking them. Talk to your doctor about other ways of dealing with your problem, from different forms of pain relief to some of the specialist therapies provided by pain clinics. Chronic pain is tough to live with, but there is a considerable effort going into researching treatments for people living with constant pain, and the outlook is increasingly hopeful for improvement in their quality of life.