Many people suffer from chronic pain conditions that have serious, adverse effects on their daily life and ability to function. However, because the condition is chronic, the pain management that the patient uses will be long term. One of the most common medical treatments for a pain condition is prescription narcotic drugs. These are also referred to as opioid or opiate drugs and have the unfortunate side effect of being highly addictive. If you are looking for pain-management treatment options that do not involve these potentially addictive and dangerous drugs, there are treatments available. Get to know some of these options.
Spinal Stimulation MRI
One of the newer options in the management of chronic pain conditions is a treatment that uses standard MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology and makes it more therapeutic treatment option. MRIs work by sending waves of energy into the body that bounce back off of the structures and organs in the body, creating the scanned images in the process.
A system that stimulates the spinal cord alternates the wavelengths of that energy, and this helps to alter the ways that the nerves communicate and function. The energy waves actually serve to disrupt the pain signals as they travel up the spinal column to the brain. When this happens, the brain does not receive or register the signals from the nerves for pain, and therefore the patient experiences relief.
To accomplish this, the doctor will implant a small device into the patient's body. This device sends energy pulses (electrical signals) throughout the body and is controlled by a remote outside of the body. That way, the pulses can be customized to best treat the individual's chronic pain.
Cupping, Acupuncture, and Other Alternative Medicine Treatments
Conventional medicine is not the only place you can look for pain-management treatments. Alternative medicine offers numerous options to help you deal with your chronic pain. Two ancient Chinese treatments that many people swear by for pain are cupping and acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a treatment that uses tiny needles inserted at certain energy points throughout the body. These needles are designed to trigger the flow of energy in the body and restore the balance that is missing when a person experiences pain or illness.
Cupping involves placing heated cups similar to small fish bowls onto the back or other areas of the body where chronic pain is located. Those cups each contain a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol, herbs, or other healing substances that was set alight (but allowed to extinguish before being placed on the body and in the cup). The cotton balls release a vapor or gas that stays inside the cup until it is removed (after about 10 to 15 minutes or more). This is thought to bring more blood flow to the region and reduce pain. Other alternative-medicine practices for pain management such as massage therapy, chiropractic care, and meditation can also be useful parts of pain-management routines.
Now that you know some of the options available to you for pain management without narcotic pain medications, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can to control your chronic pain and get back to enjoying your life. For more ideas or personalized information, contact a professional such as Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine.