More than one-fifth of American adults deal with chronic pain every year in the United States. For many people, their symptoms are frequent and severe enough to interfere with their regular daily activities and prevent them from socializing and enjoying the activities they love.
Unlike acute pain that comes on rapidly and typically resolves within a few days to a few weeks, chronic pain lasts for 12 or more weeks and sometimes persists for months or years. Depending on its cause, chronic pain often worsens over time, which means it’s vital to seek treatment early on.
At Vulcan Pain Management, Victor Mendoza, MD, uses state-of-the-art chronic pain management techniques to help patients relieve symptoms and improve their quality of life. Here are five ways he can help you manage your chronic pain.
#1: Pain medications
Some types of chronic pain can be managed with over-the-counter pain medicines, especially when combined with other pain management treatments listed here. For others, prescription pain medications are a better choice for providing long-term, meaningful relief.
Dr. Mendoza is skilled in optimizing prescription medications to help patients manage their symptoms while decreasing the risk of unpleasant side effects. He also has extensive experience using newer pain medicines, like LYRICA®, NUCYNTA®, and buprenorphine.
#2: Injection therapy
Injection therapy for pain management includes various options based on the type of pain, its underlying cause, and where it’s occurring in your body. Injections typically use a combination of “pain-blocking” agents and corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation when necessary. Nerve blocks and epidural injections effectively treat many types of chronic pain, and there’s no risk of overdose or addiction.
#3: Laser treatments
Laser therapy helps relieve chronic pain by penetrating deep layers of tissue to deliver focus bursts of energy that help the spur’s natural healing responses. Laser technology enables energy to reach layers of damaged tissue without harming your skin or surrounding tissue.
In addition to relieving pain, laser treatments relax tense muscles and improve circulation, delivering oxygen-rich blood necessary for natural healing. Painless laser treatments are performed outpatient and require no anesthesia or downtime afterward.
#4: Physical therapy (PT)
Physical therapy is beneficial in chronic pain associated with musculoskeletal issues, like arthritis or fibromyalgia. PT works in several ways to relieve discomfort and improve flexibility and function.
Therapy begins with an initial session to learn all about your symptoms, so your treatments can be tailored for optimal relief. In addition to targeted exercises and gentle stretching, your treatment may include hot and cold therapy, massage, or other options to relax tense muscles, improve circulation, and restore mobility.
#5: Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on teaching patients skills to lessen the impact of pain and their responses to it. During therapy, you’ll learn better ways of coping with discomfort and develop positive thought patterns that enhance your body’s natural pain-fighting mechanisms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy works best when used with other therapies listed here. It can also be used to help you learn new ways to manage stress, a common trigger of pain sensations.
Alongside medical treatments, Dr. Mendoza frequently prescribes lifestyle changes to help your body deal with pain naturally. Recommendations might include:
- Increasing physical activity
- Incorporating gentle exercise into your daily routine
- Making healthy eating choice
- Improving sleep hygiene
- Losing excess weight
Dr. Mendoza uses a patient-centered approach aimed at helping every patient achieve their pain relief and mobility goals.
Learn how to manage your chronic pain
As a top-rated pain management specialist in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Mendoza knows that chronic pain affects every patient differently. That’s why he takes extra care to ensure each treatment plan is customized based on each patient’s medical profile, symptoms, and treatment goals.
To learn how Dr. Mendoza can help you manage your chronic pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Vulcan Pain Management today.