Living with chronic pain isn't easy, especially with the reluctance of doctors to prescribe narcotic pain relief with the fallout of the opioid crisis. Fortunately, there are other pain management options available that can work just as well for providing relief. Here are four pain management tools you should be aware of.
Epidural Steroid Injections
For conditions such as degenerative disc disease, chronic sciatica, or even broken ribs, an injection directly into the spine and/or nerves that govern the area of pain can be a lifesaver. Epidural steroid injections often work even better than pain pills, and they also typically have fewer side effects. And while an epidural steroid injection doesn't cure what ails you, it can provide pain relief while you heal from an injury, engage in physical therapy, wait for surgical repair, or recover from surgery.
Nerve blocks are quite similar to epidural steroid injections, but they work primarily on nerves only rather than the spinal column. Nerve blocks can also be used on the face, jaw, and mouth. This makes it an ideal pain management method for people who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia.
This is a painful condition that causes lightning-fast episodes of excruciating facial pain. As the condition progresses, the attacks tend to happen more frequently and last longer, which can make life unbearable for the sufferer.
People who develop shingles, particularly on their face, also benefit from a nerve block to eliminate the nerve pain shingles causes. A nerve block works by stopping the brain from registering pain and blocking the nerve signals to the body's pain receptors.
Steroid Joint Injections
In people with osteoarthritis, in which the joints are degenerating, or other types of arthritis or joint injuries, a steroid joint injection directly into the joint can dramatically reduce pain. A local anesthetic is given first to numb the joint, and then it is followed up with the steroid medication. This medication reduces inflammation and provides long-term pain relief without the side effects oral medications cause.
A neuromodulation implant is a device that is surgically implanted near a specific nerve or near the spinal column. It uses electrical impulses to "scramble" the pain signals your nerves send to your brain to alert it to a problem. The patient uses a small remote control to control the electrical impulses the neuromodulation implant sends. Implantation is permanent, so the device is capable of providing permanent pain management assistance.
For more information or assistance, reach out to a pain management clinic.