Pain has been a constant in the human experience since the beginning of time. Yet, healthcare research regarding pain continues to evolve. Every year more is learned about how our bodies respond to pain and ways to treat it.
As far back as the 1600s, physicians used medications to treat pain. In more recent years, various types of injections using local anesthetics, steroids, and other medications have been used to treat joint or back pain. A web search for the term “chronic pain” will yield a plethora of treatment options, with a wide range of efficacy and evidence basis.
A large component of recent chronic pain research has focused on a multimodal approach to pain care. The studies have found that patients who use a variety of techniques experience the greatest relief, because chronic pain is complex and is influenced by many variables.
Multimodal therapy means creating a plan that may include medications and injections but will also include other therapies. Physical or occupational therapy will often be part of a multimodal approach. Learning ways to stretch and exercise our bodies to gain function and alleviate pain has been proven to be effective in managing chronic pain. Additionally, recent studies have shown both acupuncture (which works on your body’s pressure points), and medical massage are effective tools to use for chronic pain in conjunction with other therapies.
A multimodal pain treatment plan may include:
- Developing specific nutrition goals. While this may or may not include a focus on weight loss, a healthy diet is crucial to effective pain management.
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Smoking cessation. Long-term pain treatment outcomes are improved in non-smokers.
- Yoga can be used as an effective form of exercise which improves flexibility and balance.
- Focusing on mental health and considering evaluation by a mental health professional.
- Medical massage
The key to all of this is to develop an individualized plan of care with your physician. To have the best outcome, there needs to be a team approach. At Haven Spine + Pain, we work with our patients to understand their goals and specific concerns. Together, we will develop an individualized, multimodal approach to your care. We encourage our patients to take an active role in their care because we know that the best results are achieved when the patient is at the center of care.