Chronic pain refers to pain that lasts for more than three months. It may cause problems like disability, loss of income, and medical expenses, which incurs $600 billion annually. Fortunately, the latest research studies have unveiled non-surgical treatment protocols to address pain while minimizing side effects. William L Yancey MD applies modalities like DRG and epidural corticosteroid injections for effective and safe chronic pain management.
Common causes of chronic pain
Aging is one of the many factors that may cause chronic pain. Statistics show chronic back, neck, hip, and knee pain is more prevalent in older adults over 65.
While the factors leading to chronic pain may vary among older adults, disease and inflammation are the most common. A weak immune response increases the patient’s susceptibility to health conditions like arthritis, which may cause chronic pain.
Chronic pain may occur after an injury or trauma. Back pain could be from the stress exerted on the muscles and tendons due to an impact or poor posture. Years of the improper lifting of objects may cause nerve damage and pain.
Diagnosis and treatment options for chronic pain
Pain management specialists adopt a holistic approach when diagnosing chronic pain. While acute pain is a real-time response to stimuli, chronic pain is multi-dimensional. Mental stress, occupation, and lifestyle are all critical factors your provider will consider before prescribing treatment.
Conventional medication typically addresses the symptoms, making it ineffective for treating pain, especially in older adults. Your provider may prescribe physical therapy alongside other modalities to manage chronic pain.
Physical therapy seeks to establish why your muscles are weak or tense. Being active facilitates circulation and prevents your muscular tissue from shrinking from inactivity.
Exercise also reduces incidences of falls by strengthening your body. Stretching elongates muscular tissue to enhance flexibility and minimize the risk of injuries from accidents.
Physical therapy may help shed excess weight and alleviate symptoms. Overweight patients have a higher risk of problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, or poor circulation. Health complications may damage nerves and tissue or intensify pain sensations.
Epidural corticosteroid injections
Nerve damage may cause excruciating pain that can be challenging to treat with conventional medicine. Epidural corticosteroid injections involve injecting medication directly into the affected area.
The prescription is injected in the epidural area, a fat-filled region that covers the spinal cord. The advantage is it delivers medication to the bloodstream quickly and more effectively.
Pain relief is instantaneous, although it may last for a short time in some patients. Epidural corticosteroid injections are ideal for conditions that affect the spinal nerve. It can treat herniated discs, bone spurs, and joint cysts.
DRG stimulation therapy
DRG stimulation therapy is a treatment option for chronic pain that targets specific areas. DRG (Dorsal Root Ganglia) are regions on the spinal column with a high concentration of sensory nerves. The procedure targets DRGs corresponding to the hip, knee, or foot.
DRGs regulate signals to different areas through the spinal column. DRG therapy is most suitable for patients with chronic pain confined to a specific region of the body.
Consult William Yancey, MD, to schedule a pain management evaluation today.