Because pain is a silent epidemic in the U.S., pain management is a hot topic right now. An estimated 60 million Americans live with chronic pain caused by disorders, disease or accident. Pain management clinics and doctors are treating many types of pain including: back pain, foot pain, heel pain, arthritis knee pain, lower back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, leg pain, neck pain and joint pain.
Advanced pain management involves identifying the precise source of the problem and deciding on the best treatment.
What are the causes of pain?
In order for a structure to cause pain, it must have a nerve supply, be susceptible to injury and become painful on stimulation. The concept behind most procedures for treating pain is that there is a specific nerve-containing structure in the body that is generating the pain.
It’s important for the pain management doctors at Midwest Sports Medicine to get a history of the pain, its intensity, duration, aggravating and relieving conditions, and pinpoint what is causing the pain. Your doctor will also perform a physical examination and may order blood tests or X-rays.
Other tests used to diagnose the cause of pain may include:
- CT or CAT scan: Computed tomography (CT) or computed axial tomography (CAT) scans use X-rays and computers to produce an image of a cross-section of the body.
- MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging produces very clear pictures of the body without the use of X-rays. This test uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to produce images.
- Discography: During discography, a contrast dye is injected into the spinal disc suspected of causing back pain. The dye outlines the damaged areas on X-rays taken following injection.
- Myelograms: Doctors are able to see on X-ray the image of the spinal cord and can identify nerve compression caused by herniated discs or fractures.
- EMG: This allows doctors to evaluate the activity of the muscles. During the procedure, very fine needles are inserted into muscles to measure the muscles’ response to signals from the brain or spinal cord.
- Bone scans: Bone scans are used to diagnose and monitor infection, fracture, or other disorders in the bone. Scanner-generated images are sent to a computer to identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow.
- Ultrasound imaging: This test uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images inside the body.
Pain management can be simple or complex, depending on the cause of the pain. An example of pain that is less complex is nerve root irritation from a herniated disc with pain radiating down the leg. This type of pain can often be alleviated with medication and physical therapy.
When the pain does not go away, it requires an array of skills and techniques, which may include:
- Medication management
- Specialized procedures
- Physical or chiropractic therapy
- Acupuncture and other alternative therapies
Often people get pain relief on their own – taking over-the-counter pain relievers and resting can help. If your pain is due to an injury, is severe and comes on suddenly, or doesn’t improve after three days (becomes chronic), contact us for further evaluation.
We embrace non-traditional treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, meditation/relaxation, and Qui-Gong. Our goal is to return you to good health without pain.
When conservative measures fail to control pain, surgery may be an option. In most cases, surgery is performed on an outpatient basis using minimally invasive procedures, which reduces pain, risk, recovery time and expense.