There are many different types of pain, including acute pain, neuropathic pain, and chronic pain. Acute pain is very intense and immediate, oftentimes with a slow aching tail. It is typically associated with direct injuries and usually abates within three to six months. Neuropathic pain is when damaged nerves send faulty pain signals even after the injury has healed and can be the underlining cause of discomfort for along time.
This type of pain can be experienced as numbness, tingling, sharp stabs, lightning shocks, and weakness. Chronic pain is pain or discomfort that lasts more than three to six months. This can be a non-specific regional pain with no identifiable cause or a more direct pain typically rooted in an injury or degenerative condition. Depending on the type and severity of the pain, different treatments are available.
Treatment Options For Chronic Pain
If you are suffering from chronic pain, your doctor may provide several treatment options to remedy your symptoms. This can include therapy, surgery, or medication. There are many classes of medication – such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), muscle relaxants, opioids, acetaminophen, and other analgesic medicine – that are specially formulated to battle chronic pain. Some of these drugs have addictive potential, build up tolerance, and can be damaging to health or lethal when used incorrectly. Sometimes chronic pain can be so debilitating that it requires surgery to treat. Surgery can specifically target chronic pain through specialized procedures depending on the cause. Some surgical methods incorporate inserting devices inside the patient’s body in order to enable a steady release of medicine, chemical electric current, or heat to the affected nerves. Nerve ablation and electrical nerve stimulation destroy/interrupt pain signals from being relayed to the brain. This is especially effective for neuropathic chronic pain. Intrathecal drug delivery and chemical sympathectomy uses medicine and chemicals to treat chronic pain. This method enables targeted, more efficient and effective administration of medication. Device complications may occur, which can lead to over- or under-medication, that can be life-threatening without surgical intervention. Another technique, particularly effective in treating chronic back pain, is spinal decompression. Spinal decompression is a surgical or non-surgical method of relieving pressure in the spine by stretching and stabilizing the discs and vertebrae. Specific types of back pain can be remedied with differing forms of spinal decompression treatment.
Spinal Decompression Treatment
Depending on the source, severity, and type of chronic back pain, spinal decompression treatment may be advised. Spinal decompression can be an effective means to treating chronic and severe back pain, as well as a mode of improving spinal strength and mobility. There are two options: non-surgical and surgical. Non-surgical spinal decompression involves creating negative intradiscal pressure by gradually stretching the spine in a controlled manner. Typically, non-surgical spinal decompression consists of a series of treatments conducted by a doctor, followed by back strengthening exercises and possible drug prescription. Non-surgical decompression is a non-invasive, low-risk approach at alleviating back pain. Because of this, it is typically the first in line of treatment. If this approach is ineffective, or in cases of very chronic or severe pain, surgical spinal decompression may be advised. Spinal decompression surgery is a more invasive procedure that may help relieve pressure on the spinal cord through different orthopedic techniques. These include corpectomy and discectomy, surgeries involving removal of part or all of a vertebrae and disc to relieve nerve pressure and inflammatory reaction; and foraminotomy and laminotomy, minimally invasive surgeries that remove a portion of bone to allow openings for nerve roots and reduce inflammatory reaction. Though typically effective, surgery may or may not improve chronic pain. Because of this and the inherent risks involved with any surgical procedure, spinal decompression surgery is only advised for most severe cases of chronic back pain.