Take charge of pain management

Take charge of pain management

They could be grocery shopping, driving to work or mopping the kitchen floor, but they all have one thing in common. If there’s one thing our patients have learned to do well, it’s to hide their pain. As it slowly creeps into their everyday lives, taking them from the things they love most, they look for better ways to cope with excruciating symptoms. Those living with chronic neck and back pain suffer silently, and that’s exactly what Pain Awareness Month is all about.

Whether you’re re-evaluating your pain management approach or caring for someone in pain, take this month to consider the many pain management techniques that may help bring needed relief. Conservative care, or nonsurgical treatment, is a great place to start. And luckily, conservative treatment can take many forms to fit a variety of lifestyles and spine conditions. Below are some conservative and surgical options you can explore to help take control of chronic pain:

Lifestyle changes, like drinking more water, quitting smoking or losing weight, can be more beneficial than you make think. Drinking enough water can help keep your spinal discs hydrated and flexible, while healthy weight loss takes strain off your back. Think twice before lighting another cigarette — smoking can decrease the blood supply and nutrients traveling to your spinal discs!

Temporary pain medication may become an option for relief, especially if inflammation prevents you from completing the physical therapy or exercise programs recommended by your doctor. Work with your physician or pain management doctor to determine if over-the-counter or prescription medication may meet your needs.

Consistent stretches or gentle yoga can be great ways to relax — but that’s not all. By practicing controlled breathing, increasing circulation and reducing tension, you can prevent or avoid painful flare-ups in your neck or back. And the best part? It’s easy to get started. Ask your physician which positions or techniques may work best for your condition.

Steroid injections are treatments typically provided by pain management doctors after most conservative treatments have been attempted. Injections can be temporarily therapeutic (to relieve chronic pain) or diagnostic (to pinpoint the source of pain). Injection therapy works to reduce inflammation near the pinched nerve or degenerative spinal joint that’s causing local or radiating pain, numbness, tingling or muscle fatigue.

Minimally invasive spine surgery has many advantages as an alternative to traditional open spine surgery. Using a less than 1-inch incision, our surgeons help treat most common spine conditions, like bulging or herniated discs, bone spurs and spinal stenosis, to name a few. And with our patients up and walking within a few hours of surgery, well — we’ll let you hear it from them.

How will you take charge during Pain Awareness Month? If you’re still in pain after exploring the nonsurgical treatments mentioned above — as well as the other options recommended by your doctor — you can start by reaching out to our Care Team with your questions or concerns. Don’t let another month pass you by.

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