The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over one-fifth of all American adults suffered from chronic pain at some point in 2021. About 7% have high-impact chronic pain with symptoms that are severe enough to reduce their ability to navigate through an average day significantly.
Dr. Erik Curtis and Dr. Abhishiek Sharma offer their considerable neurosurgery skills to the patients of Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center patients in Scottsdale, Arizona. The spine is often the source of many chronic pain issues, so a neurosurgery practice is an ideal choice for chronic pain, even when surgery is unnecessary. The right solution is usually the most conservative treatment that gets results.
Common causes of chronic pain
Pain may result from something simple, like a cut or impact injury. These are often short-term pain conditions, noticeably improving in the days after the event. Chronic pain is intermittent or persistent and lasts for 12 weeks or longer despite medical treatment.
Pain isn’t always logical. It may start without any injury or medical condition. Chronic pain can develop from nerve conditions that linger past the point where there are physical reasons for the pain or from degenerative conditions that won’t heal. As a result, chronic pain is often hard to treat.
There’s no simple, concise list of chronic pain causes, but chronic pain conditions that involve the spine typically include:
- Congenital conditions, such as scoliosis
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Posture problems
- Degenerative conditions of the spine due to aging
- Arthritic conditions
- Jobs that require long periods of sitting or standing
Sometimes, there’s no single problem in evidence that explains your symptoms. Your chronic pain may stem from a combination of factors with no dominant cause. Significant chronic pain often starts a cycle of suffering that increasingly affects your mental and physical health. Long-term chronic pain can cause moodiness and depression, which may elevate your pain experience.
Chronic pain treatments
When there’s a clear reason for your chronic pain, we can target treatments directly. Usually, we approach pain symptoms conservatively. You might start with over-the-counter pain medications as well as hot and cold compresses to manage pain, as you add stretching or strength exercises to help your body develop load management capacity.
Moderate physical activities such as walking and swimming often provide remarkable benefits for chronic pain, even when these might seem like counterintuitive actions when you feel pain. Our doctors recommend therapeutic levels of activity without exercises that make pain symptoms worse.
When treatments like these fail to produce results, we may progress to prescription medications or anti-inflammatory therapies like corticosteroid injections. As there are more risks associated with these techniques, a pain management plan may serve as a guideline for your care.
When all else fails, we’ll recommend the surgical solutions that are best able to treat your pain condition with as little impact on healthy tissue as possible.
Find out more in consultation with one of our doctors at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center. You can reach us by phone or through our appointment request link. Schedule your visit today.