Chronic Pain – Alternative Treatments

Treatment for chronic pain is one of the major focuses of my practice. Because of this, I think it’s important to explore alternative treatments for pain, since many people do not respond to medication and other traditional pain therapies. After all, if such were not the case, we would not be talking about chronic pain, would we?

Simply finding what works is the key treating chronic pain. However, the human body is so complex that using the word “simply” is something of an oxymoron.

And yet, too many doctors and pain “experts” seem fixated on trying to fit the patient into the treatment (usually medication or surgery), rather than exploring alternative pain treatments and/or therapies that meet the patient’s needs.

Dr. David Hanscom – Non-surgical Pain Treatment

Such is not the case with Dr. David Hanscom, a renowned spine surgeon and advocate for conquering chronic pain without surgery. As he explains it, there are two steps to regaining control over chronic pain. The following has been borrowed from an article by Dr. Hanscom that was published at the DoctorOz.com website, in 2013.

Three Principles for Understanding and Eradicating Pain

Pain is complicated and affected by several variables (outlined below). The solution, however, is relatively simple. There are three basic principles:

  • You need to gain an understanding of pain, in general, and your situation.

  • You then need to commit to using this knowledge to take complete control of your care – and eventually your life.

  • You must put in place a plan to simultaneously – all at once – address each one of the variables that (as you’ve learned) affect your perception of pain.

Surprisingly, this process isn’t complicated or difficult. Not only do patients begin to feel in control of their lives but, as they see results, they begin to once again experience their lives as pleasant and rewarding.

The Source of Your Pain

There are three separate, potential sources of pain – your pain may result from one, two or all three:

  • Structural: There is an identifiable problem (your doctor can usually see it with an imaging test such as an X-ray, CT scan or MRI) and you have symptoms that match the problem.

  • Soft-Tissue Inflammation: You’ve experienced an injury to your muscles, ligaments or other supportive tissues leading to inflammation in that area. This is a very common source of pain and it often cannot be visualized on an imaging test.

  • Mind-Body Syndrome: The sensation that you experience as “pain” is actually neurological feedback loop. Sometimes, over time, the nervous system can “short circuit” and get, effectively, stuck repeating the same signals repeatedly.

How to take control: Understand whether your pain involves one, two or all three of these components. It’s important to realize one key bit of information: Surgery is often only helpful for structural problems. If you have soft tissue inflammation and/or mind-body syndrome (and many people with chronic pain have both) surgery is unlikely to make your pain go away.

For more information on this approach, you may wish to grab a copy of his book, Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain.

If you happen to live in the Denver, Colorado area (or nearby), I’d be happy to consult with you on other alternative approaches to overcoming chronic pain. Click here to contact me today.

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