What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is often defined as an uncomfortable sensation which lasts for more than 12 weeks and is caused by the spinal nerves in the central nervous system carrying messages from the body to the brain. There are many different forms in which it can occur and can begin at any time, the most common causes are known to be nerve damage, spinal disc disease, arthritis and cancer pain (although there are many others reasons!).
Chronic pain affects approximately 1 in every 5 people and it can affect any and all parts of the body. At the moment it isn’t possible to tell in advance whose pain will become chronic although studies have shown that people are far more likely to develop chronic pain during or after a time of unhappiness or stress.
Measuring pain objectively is a challenge for healthcare providers and coming to a complete chronic pain diagnosis can be challenging. It can take many months to diagnose exactly where the pain is coming from, but once accurately defined there are plenty treatment options that can be taken both privately and under the NHS for chronic pain relief.
Treatments for Chronic Pain Relief
There are a variety of things patients can do to improve quality of life whilst dealing with chronic pain. Simple changes can often make the biggest difference to the amount of suffering that can be experienced. To start, patients may consider:
- Regular Exercise – Even a very little amount will keep muscles and joints strong.
- Taking Painkillers – Just simply taking painkiller medicine when the pain is at it’s worst can take away the edge.
- Relaxation – Having a warm bath or investing in some holistic treatments (e.g masage) can often help relax the body.
- Pacing Yourself – Taking a break before it gets worse is always a good idea, then get back to what you were doing later on in the day.
- Planning – Planning your days and things to do can help you keep on top of your pain.
- Neuromodulation – If patients find that even after implementing these lifestyle changes that they are feeling no benefit whatsoever then there are other more advanced treatments that can be given which use Spinal Chord Stimulation (Neuromodulation) Technology.
What is Neuromodulation Technology?
Neuromodulation is considered as the chronic therapeutic electrical stimulation of the central nervous system or special nerves with an implanted stimulating device. It is offered to enhance the quality of life for individuals suffering from severe chronic illness due to persistent pain, spasticity, epilepsy, movement disorders, spinal injury, cardiac, bowel and bladder dysfunction.
There are four types of Neuromodulation treatment which are:
Spinal Cord Stimulation – using electrical pulses to stimulate and interrupt the area of the spinal cord causing the pain.
Radiofrequency – involving the use of electrical current (produced by radio waves) to heat up the specific area of nerve tissue causing the pain to create a lesion which interrupts the pain signals.
Nerve Stimulation – involves a device to be implanted directly within the pain location to distribute a pulsated electrical current to the affected area, masking the sensation of pain and replacing with a far more manageable sensation.
Pain Relief Medication Pump – Involves a specifically pre-programmed pump to be surgically implanted into the patient to deliver pain medication directly to the affected area.
Please note: This information should not be used as a substitute for any medical advice or treatment provided already by a health care provider. Always consult a medical professional about any health related concerns.