15 Nov Don’t Ignore the Undeniable Link Between Pain and Function
Some people just don’t like seeing the doctor. We get it. Even individuals who work in medicine can feel uncomfortable about an office visit with the GP. But when it comes to chronic pain, ignoring it is never a good idea. At the very least, there is an undeniable link between pain and function. It is a link that should not be ignored.
At Lone Star, pain management is our specialty. We routinely treat patients whose chronic pain has negatively impacted other areas of life. Many have lost function because the pain they are experiencing is preventing them from moving and working their bodies as they otherwise would. One of our objectives for managing pain is to help patients regain lost function.
The Pain Cycle
Ignoring chronic pain to the point at which it impairs function can lead to what we call the pain cycle. You can find yourself in this cycle as a result of neck and shoulder pain, back pain, and even osteoarthritis. It is a cycle we see time and again.
It starts with a level of pain that makes it uncomfortable to move the affected part of the body. Again, let us assume neck and shoulder pain. You might not want to move your arm because doing so causes pain in the shoulder and lower neck. Immobility is your secret weapon for maintaining as much comfort as you can.
Because you are not moving that particular arm, you’re also not working the muscles. Keeping it immobile for any length of time will weaken those muscles. What happens then? Trying to move the arm only causes further pain. This encourages you to continue maintaining immobility which further weakens the muscles. This creates more pain, and so on.
Breaking the Cycle
There is no doubt that ignoring chronic pain can impair function. At Lone Star, pain management is intended to help restore function by breaking the pain cycle. We rely on a long list of treatments appropriate for different types of pain. We can break those treatments down into four categories:
- Regional Anesthesia – A regional anesthesia can block pain signals so that they do not reach the brain. This temporarily alleviates pain while the patient’s body takes the necessary time to heal.
- Nonsurgical Treatments – Nonsurgical treatments include things such as PRP injections, steroid injections, discography, etc. They alleviate pain through different mechanisms. For example, steroids work by reducing inflammation.
- Surgical Procedures – There are times when the cause of chronic pain can only be treated through surgical procedures. We perform a number of procedures including anterior cervical discectomy and spinal cord stimulator implantation.
- Referred Surgical Procedures – These procedures are surgical procedures that we believe will help even though we are unable to perform them ourselves. In such cases, we diagnose the condition and then refer the patient to a specialist.
The goal in every case is to alleviate pain and restore function. We know that if we can alleviate your neck and shoulder pain, for example, you will start using your arm again. That is what we both want. We want it for you because we know it is healthy; you want it for yourself because having two working arms is better than having just one.
Are you suffering from any type of chronic pain? If so, seriously consider whether or not it is limiting your function. The link between the two is undeniable. We encourage you not to ignore your pain. Instead, visit us at Lone Star Pain Medicine. We want to help you regain function and take your life back.