Pain is an uncomfortable sensation that can occur in any part of the body. It’s usually the response of our body to injuries, compression and so on. Pain can be categorized into two main parts, which includes acute and chronic pain.
The first step is acknowledging that you’re experiencing discomfort. The next step would be seeking medical help for the right diagnosis and proper management of the pain. It’s important to discuss with your physician and explain in details, what could have triggered the pain. Physicians make their diagnosis based on the medical and family history of the patient, coupled with a thorough physical examination. In situations where there is a need to probe more, they might also carry out diagnostic tests which may include imaging tests such as X-ray, CT-scan, MRI, ultrasound and so on. Other tests that could help physicians in diagnosing include a blood test, biopsy and so on. Choric pain might just be a symptom of an underlying disease. Some of the ways of treating chronic pain include the use of over-the-counter medications, prescription medications. This might be combined with the following:
- Physical therapy: Patients are advised to get a therapist, that would help them with the right exercise and work out, to improve their symptoms.
- Various relaxation methods
Chiropractic is also an alternative to the treatment of chronic pain. A lot of evidence has shown that chiropractors can use this method in the effective treatment of conditions such as back pain, neck pain, joint pain and so on. This article would focus on the various causes of chronic pain, and how to treat them. Pain management doctors make use of medications and other methods in the treatment of chronic pain.
What Are Conditions That Causes Chronic Pain?
A lot of people are affected by chronic pain, but a small number of them visit the hospital until it becomes unbearable. These sets of people rely on over-the-counter medications to manage their pain. There are various types and causes of chronic pain. Below are some of these diseases, and how to treat them:
- Osteoarthritis: This is the most prevalent form of arthritis. It’s one of the most common causes of chronic pain. It affects millions of people globally, regardless of gender, race, and
Osteoarthritis is a condition in which there is a degeneration of the cartilage that protects bones from wearing down over time. This condition mostly occurs in joints, which includes cartilages, synovial membranes, bones and so on. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it’s most common in the hips, hands, knees, and spine. Some of the signs and symptoms of this disorder include the following:
- Pain: Persons affected with arthritis usually experience pain for a long time. They feel the pain during or after movement.
- Stiffness: Patients also experience stiffness in their joints, especially after waking up in the morning, or after some time of inactivity.
- Persons affected with this condition might also present with the lack of flexibility in their joints. They usually lack the ability to make use of their joint in full range of motion.
- Bone spurs: Bone spurs is a condition in which some bits of bone feel like hard lumps. This usually forms around the affected joint.
- Tenderness: Patients may also feel some tenderness in the affected joint when pressure is applied to
What Are the Causes of Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that serves as a cushion in the joint degenerates over time. The cartilage makes it possible for the bones of the joint to move without friction. The surface of the cartilage also becomes rough. In advanced stages, the cartilage might deteriorate completely, and the bones would be left to rub on each other.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Osteoarthritis?
There are some factors that increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Some of them include the following:
- Age: The cartilages of joints tend to deteriorate as one age. This is why osteoarthritis is more prevalent in older adults.
- Gender: Studies have shown that osteoarthritis is more prevalent in women, as compared to men. The reason behind this isn’t clear.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese is one of the most common factors in the development of osteoarthritis. This is because the excess weight puts a lot more stress on the joints, especially the joints that bear the most weight of the body, such as the knees and hips. Also, studies have shown that fat tissues produce some special proteins that can induce inflammation in the joints.
- Injuries: Injuries to the joints is one of the most prevalent causes of osteoarthritis. These injuries could be from sports, vehicular accidents and so on. These injuries might not cause osteoarthritis, but they increase the risk of developing the disorder. It has been shown that even injuries that were sustained many years ago could also increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
- Genetics: Studies have shown that some people are more predisposed to developing osteoarthritis. This can be attributed to their genetic buildup.
Diagnosis Of Osteoarthritis
Physicians diagnose this condition by taking the medical and family history of the patient. They also perform a thorough physical examination of the patient. In addition, they may also carry out other tests as mentioned below:
- Imaging tests: Some of the imaging tests used in diagnosing this condition include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging test, CT-scan and so on.
- Laboratory tests: Examples of laboratory tests include blood tests and joint fluid analysis. This would help in excluding other diseases that share similar symptoms with osteoarthritis. Examples of these disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, spondylosis and so on.
Treatment Of Osteoarthritis
The process of osteoarthritis cannot be reversed. However, signs and symptoms can be improved. Physicians manage this condition with a combination of diet changes, lifestyle, physical therapy, exercise, and medications. Some of the medications used in the treatment of this condition include pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen and so on.
- Occupational therapy: An occupational therapist can assist the patient in improving the symptoms, and make the day to day life of the patient less difficult.
- Chiropractic: A chiropractic can assist the patient, especially with the symptoms of this disease, and with the kind of exercise the patient should indulge in
- Neck pain: Chiropractic can easily get rid of disorders such as neck pain, with just some gentle chiropractic techniques. These methods include a low-velocity technique, that is performed with a passive range of joint motion. One of the ways of treating neck pain is through cervical mobilization. The patient is asked to lay on his/her back, while the chiropractor uses his hands to manipulate the vertebra in a left to right motion, and also in the opposite direction. The doctor also tries to do a figure 8 motion while rocking the vertebrae in the left to right direction. They do this while also moving the head forward, backward, side to side and rotating it, internally and externally. There is also a smooth, non-forceful type of stretch. The goal of decreasing fixation in areas where movement is limited to the segments of the cervical spine. Other ways of treating neck pain include manual cervical traction and the cervical ‘drop’ technique.
- Low Back Pain
Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit the hospital. There are various conditions that could lead to back pain. Low back pain could be as a result of the impairment of the muscles, nerves, and bones of the back. Lower back pain can be acute or chronic. Pain that lasts more than 3 months is referred to as chronic pain, while the one that lasts for less than 6 weeks is referred to as acute pain. Symptoms presented by patients usually improve after a few weeks, except in some cases of chronic pain. Some of the signs and symptoms of back pain include muscle pain, pain that radiates from the back to the legs, shooting pain and so on. There are various conditions that could lead to lower back pain. Some of them include arthritis, osteoporosis and so on.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Low Back Pain?
Low back pain could occur as a result of various reasons. It can also develop without a cause that can be identified by physicians even when they make use of diagnostic tests such as X-ray, CT scan and so on. Some of the signs and symptoms of this disorder include the following:
- Arthritis: Arthritis is one of the most common causes of low back pain. There are different types of arthritis, and they usually present with similar symptoms, which includes back pain. Arthritis can cause the narrowing of the space around the spinal cord. This condition is referred to as spinal stenosis.
- Osteoporosis: This is a condition in which the spinal vertebrae develop compression fractures, due to the reduction in the density of the bone. This is most prevalent in old adults, especially those above the age of 60.
- Skeletal disorder: People with irregularities in their spinal structure do present with back pain. Examples of spinal irregularities that could lead to low back pain include scoliosis.
- Ruptured vertebral disc: This is a situation in which the discs between the vertebrae in the spine ruptures. These discs serve as a cushion between the vertebrae and prevent them from rubbing against each other. The soft material inside the intervertebral disc can rupture and compress the nerves around it. This would cause a lot of discomfort for the patient. This condition is mostly detected by accident, especially when the physician is taking the X-ray of the spine for some other reason.
- The strain of the muscles and ligament: The muscles and ligaments of the back can be strained when lifting something that is too heavy for the back to bear. In addition, sharp or sudden awkward movements can put a lot of strain on the muscles and spinal ligaments. This is most common to people that attempt lifting heavy weights in the gym when they’re not physically fit.
Factors That Increases The Risk Of Developing Low Back Pain
There are some factors that increase the risk of developing low back pain. Some of the factors include the following:
- Age: As earlier mentioned, low back pain mostly occurs in old adults, especially those that are above the age of 40.
- Lack of fitness: Individuals that do not engage in regular physical exercise tend to develop back pain.
- Obesity and overweight: People that are overweight or obese have a high risk of developing low back pain. This is because the excess weight puts a lot of stress on their joints. Joints mostly affected include the hip and knee joints. However, patients also feel pain in the lower part of their back.
- Smoking: Studies have shown that smokers have a reduced flow of blood to their lower spine. This prevents important nutrients and oxygen from getting to the discs in the back joints, which would eventually lead to back pain.
- Improper technique: There is some exercise that requires the use of one’s leg, especially when lifting in the gym. Individuals without proper training and knowledge may use their back instead of their back when lifting, which would eventually lead to back pain.
- Diseases: There is some disease that causes back pain. Some of these diseases include spondylosis, arthritis and so on.
Diagnosis Of Lower Back Pain
Physicians diagnose this disorder by taking the medical and family history of the patient. This is then followed with the examination of the signs and symptoms of the patient. The physician usually asks patients to rate the pain they’re feeling on a scale of zero to 10. This helps the physician in knowing how to manage the condition. They also make use of other methods in diagnosing the condition. Below are some of them:
- X-ray: X-rays are capable of showing the alignment of the bones, and whether the patient has arthritis or fracture. However, X-rays cannot show if the patient has problems with their muscles, nerves or discs.
- Blood test: This is done to know if the patient is suffering from an infection.
- Electromyography: This is done to detect the various electrical impulses that are produced by the nerves and how the muscles respond to them. This test can help to reveal if there is any form of nerve compression or herniation.
Treatment Of Lower Back Pain
Most cases of lower back pain usually resolve without the need for any medical intervention. People make use of over-the-counter medications, and home remedies in treating this condition. However, there are situations in which lower back pain persists for a long time, and doesn’t respond to treatment. This is when it’s important to consult a physician. Physicians do recommend that patients continue their activities as much as they can tolerate. In addition, they should avoid activities that could increase the pain. They treat persistent lower back pain with a combination of medications and physical therapy.
- Medications: Examples of medications used in the treatment of lower back pain include
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and so on. Other medications used include muscle relaxants, topical pain relievers and so on.
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants, when used in low doses, are effective in treating back pain. Examples of such medications include amitriptyline.
- Narcotics: Narcotics include opioids such as oxycodone, are used by physicians for the treatment of lower back pain. However, these drugs are addictive and have to be used under the supervision of a physician.
- Chiropractic: Chiropractic is effective in the treatment of lower back pain. Chiropractors make use of hand manipulation in the treatment of back pain. The theory behind chiropractic is that the body would heal itself when the spine is properly aligned. They would manually manipulate the joints, employing different intensity of forces, to improve the range and quality of motion. In addition to this, they also engage the patient in physical rehabilitation. The goal of the chiropractor as regards back pain is to restore the patient back to the normal functioning of the back, without pains, and to prevent any kind of injury in the future
- Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a demyelinating condition in which the insulating covers of the neurons in the brain and the spinal cord are damaged. This would cause an impairment in the movement of impulses between nerve cells. Persons affected with this condition would present with various signs and symptoms that would affect the physical, mental and psychiatric state of the patient. Some of the symptoms present by patients would include double vision, weakness of the muscles, difficulty with coordination, and blindness in one eye. Multiple sclerosis can occur in various forms. The main cause of this disease is not known yet. However, the underlying mechanism behind it has been identified to be autoimmunity. This is when the body immune system fails to recognize the myelin-producing cells and then proceeds to attack it. The attack on these cells impairs the function of nerves. Some of the factors that contribute to the development of this disease include genetics and environmental factors. Physicians diagnose this condition by taking the medical and family history of the patient. This is followed up with a thorough physical and neurological examination of the patient. The signs and symptoms presented by the patient are also examined. Other tests could also be carried out. Multiple sclerosis has no cure yet, although the symptoms can be improved with a combination of medications and physical therapy.
What Are the Medications Used In The Treatment Of Chronic Pain?
There are some medications that are effective for the treatment of chronic pain. Some of them include the following:
- Pain relievers: These are medications that are used for the treatment of pain Examples of common pain relievers include acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin and so on. These medications are safe, and can even be gotten over-the-counter without a doctor’s However, patients with a history of gastric ulcer need to consult a physician before using these drugs. This is because nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause and worsen ulcer, and also increase the risk of developing heart attack and kidney problems.
- Antidepressants: Some antidepressants have been approved for the treatment of chronic pain. Examples of these medications include amitriptyline, doxepin and so on. These medications can be used by those that are depressed and experiencing pain, and by persons that are not depressed.
- Opioids: These are medications that are used for the treatment of chronic pain. Examples of these medications include morphine, oxycodone and so on. They can be administered in various ways, such as in pills, tablet, skin patches, and so on. However, these medications are usually given under the guidance of a physician, as they are very addictive.
Role Of Chiropractic In The Treatment Of Chronic Pain
Chiropractic is effective in the treatment of chronic pain. It’s mostly used for the treatment of back and neck pain. In addition, individuals that have sustained injuries due to muscle strains, headaches, leg aches can also benefit from chiropractic.
Chiropractic is a type of alternative medicine that involves the use of hand manipulation and other alternative methods in treating musculoskeletal disorders, especially those that affects the spine. Chiropractic does not make use of invasive methods in the treatment of diseases. It relies solely on manipulation of joints, to treat disorders.
What Are The Benefits Of Chiropractic?
Chiropractic has a lot of benefits. Below are some of them:
- They are safe: Chiropractic is associated with low risks, as compared to the use of medications and surgery. It’s rare for complications to occur, and in cases where they do, the symptoms are usually mild. Some of the common complications include headache, tiredness, and so on. These complications are mild, when compared with the side effects of medications and the risks associated with surgery.
- Effective in the treatment of pain: Chiropractic care is effective in the treatment of pain, especially back and neck pain. The physicians make use of hand manipulation in the treatment of these disorders. Other conditions that are commonly treated with chiropractic include sciatica, multiple sclerosis and so on.
- Prevents joint dysfunction: Chiropractic care helps to reduce joint dysfunction. Chiropractors would know if there is anything off about your joints, even if the patient doesn’t present with any signs and symptoms.
- Customized treatment: There is no specific treatment for a disease. The chiropractor usually creates a treatment plan based on the condition of the patient. This is usually more effective than applying the same treatment plan for different people.
What Are The Risks Associated With Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a generally safe, especially when it’s done by a trained and duly registered chiropractor. Below are some of the complications that might occur as a result of treatments;
- Patients might present with body aches and pains.
- Patients might experience stiffness in some parts of the body.
- Weakness and fatigue could also happen to patients.
- Stroke: This might occur as a result of spinal manipulation. However, this rarely occurs.
It’s important to speak to your physician to determine if chiropractic is good and safe for you.
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