Pain relief treatment is essential for millions of people around the world. From mild pain such as headaches, to debilitating chronic pain, many people suffer from the effects. We have everything, from paracetamol to powerful pain relief drugs, and are prepared to treat every degree of pain, but because the situation constantly changes, so too must we adapt.
New developments continue, and these innovative developments are improving pain relief treatment as we further our understanding of chronic pain. This is great news for anyone suffering from any form of pain!
Pain Relief for Severe Pain
Severe pain can be debilitating, but there are a number of strong pain relief medications available. One of the most common types of treatments used comes in the form of anticonvulsants.
These are primarily used for seizure disorders, but they are also used to treat pain. There is no clear evidence of how they control the pain, but they can work very effectively, and a new generation of these drugs is being developed, which could lead to fewer side effects, as reported in WebMD.
Perhaps surprisingly, antidepressants are also being used in low doses to treat severe pain. Antidepressants such as Norpramin affect the brain chemicals to help control pain, and they can be especially useful when full pain relief is not achieved through other types of treatment.
For the most serious types of pain, narcotics might be used. This is the next level up; drugs like morphine, codeine and others, like fentanyl, can all be used to affect the pain receptors in the nerve cells. These can be controversial because there is a risk of addiction, but they can also be effective, especially when combined with other medications for maximum effect.
Another type of pain-killer that is commonly used these days comes in the form of creams. Zostrix is one of these. Zostrix contains capsaicin, which reduces the transmission of Substance P, a chemical that relays pain to the brain.
Skin patches might also be used. For example, a transdermal patch with lidocaine might be used for the treatment of pain caused by a condition like shingles.
Advanced Methods of Targeting Chronic Pain
More advanced methods are constantly being discovered to reduce chronic pain. One such method is targeting procedures. This is where a nerve block is created using a local anaesthetic, which acts by blocking the pain caused by a group of nerves. These are used for acute pain, and they can be very effective. They can also help to prevent the development of chronic pain when used early.
Pacemaker-like devices might also be used. These devices are implanted into the body to stimulate the spinal cord to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain.
TENS, which stands for ‘transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation’, is another type of therapy that provides short-term relief by delivering an electrical current to block pain, and it can be especially effective for muscle pains.
A technique like radiofrequency ablation could also be used. This involves heating an area of nerve tissue to reduce the pain signals, and it can produce long-lasting and localized pain relief.
Another form of advanced pain relief treatment that could be used is intrathecal pumps. These send medication directly to the spinal cord in far smaller doses than would be needed orally, delivering local anesthetics or other painkillers at the push of a button to block the pain signals. They are commonly used with cancer patients, but they can be used with other forms of extreme pain, too.
There are plenty of further alternatives that are being used for the treatment of pain. For example, doctors may encourage techniques that improve relaxation, such as meditation, breathing exercises, or psychotherapy. Some doctors might even encourage traditional techniques like acupuncture or even the use of essential oils for pain relief.
New Research Is Constantly Advancing Pain Relief
Advances are constantly being made when it comes to pain relief, and new research is always in progress to discover new ways to treat chronic pain. For example, recent research by scientists at Cambridge University is targeting people who are unable to feel pain, as reported in Medical Daily, and this could lead to even better forms of pain relief than those currently available.
Thus, whether you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain, you now have more treatment options than ever before, and new, better types of pain relief are certain to be developed over the coming years.
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Guest Author Bio
Jenny Bennett works as a registered dietician. She enjoys writing about healthy living. Her articles are available mainly on health and wellness sites.