An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain is a major medical condition distinctly different and more complex than acute pain. While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert one to possible injury, chronic pain is a state in which pain persists for many months or years, beyond the normal course required by healing of an injury. The economic and personal losses associated with chronic pain can be significant, including costly medical expenses, lost income and productivity; lost mobility, anxiety or depression.
The causes of chronic pain are not always clear. Past traumatic injuries, congenital conditions, cancers, arthritis, and others might point to an obvious culprit, but in many cases the source of chronic pain can be very complex. This makes it difficult to treat, and pain management usually does not involve one approach, but a multidisciplinary focus designed to help the patient reach his or her highest level of function and independence.
Dr. George Rung, LOG’s pain management specialist, is well-trained in the diagnosis and treatment of acute, sub-acute and chronic muscle and nerve pain problems, and utilizes the most advanced treatment techniques. He will work with you one-on-one to determine the best treatment plan for your individual pain to relieve symptoms and allow you to enjoy your everyday activities to their maximum potential.
Causes of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain may develop as a result of several different conditions, including:
Facet joint pain
Your doctor will evaluate your condition through a series of diagnostic exams.
Pain Management Treatments
Treatments for chronic pain may focus on relieving symptoms or treating the underlying condition, and can vary depending on the cause and severity of each patient’s individual condition, as well as their overall health and medical history. The most successful pain management programs are those that are specifically tailored for each individual patient so that they can remain actively involved in their own recovery. Some of the most common treatments for chronic pain include:
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are often the first treatment utilized to relieve chronic pain. Corticosteroids and stronger prescription medications such as Morphine may also be recommended as an initial treatment. Our doctors try to minimize pharmaceutical treatment by recommending appropriate alternate techniques whenever possible.
Injections are one of the most effective treatment options for pain management, as they block nerve signals to relieve pain and inflammation. These injections are administered directly into the affected area, along with a local anesthetic to relieve any potential discomfort, and may be composed of corticosteroids, Botox, viscosupplementation, sclerosing solutions or other substances.
Through a small battery-operated device worn on the body, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can relieve pain by stimulating the nerves that target the affected area of the body. This treatment is not painful and is considered safe for most patients.
For the most severe cases that do not respond to less invasive treatments, surgery may be required to relieve pain and allow patients to resume normal functioning, although movement may be somewhat restricted. Surgery may include joint replacement, cartilage repair and other procedures.
Most patients benefit from a combination of treatments in order to achieve successful pain relief and may be treated by a number of different therapists and other health care providers. Dr. Rung works with patients for as long as needed in order to develop an effective treatment plan for their individual condition.