Chronic pain, whether it be arthritis, back pain, neck pain, sciatica, a herniated disc, bursitis, complex regional pain syndrome, or phantom limb pain, can be nightmarish to cope with. Chronic pain syndrome can dramatically affect your day-to-day life. People with chronic pain often have trouble moving, walking, or even standing up. Something as simple as sitting on a chair, tasks most people take for granted, can be laborious under chronic pain conditions.
Even worse, chronic pain can significantly affect the workplace. American workers can lose up to 4.6 hours of labor due to a pain condition. Overall, American business loses more than $60 billion in productivity due to chronic pain from employees. It comes to no surprise, then, that back pain is one of the most cited reasons employees use to miss work.
There are, however, treatments for chronic pain ailments. Proper treatments obviously depend on the condition but under professional medical guidance, chronic pain is very much manageable. Here are three common treatments used to treat neck pain and other pain conditions:
- Epidural steroid injections: An epidural steroid injection, more commonly known as an “epidural,” is a type of solution injected directly into the spinal cord. The solution, which is usually a mixture of cortisone (a steroid), a local anesthetic (such as lidocaine), and/or saline, is designed to target inflamed nerve cells that cause sciatica and other kinds of lower back pain by both flushing out inflammatory fluids and apply pain relief to the infected cells. It is also used to treat herniated disks.
- Spinal cord stimulation: Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) uses electrical currents to interfere with the nerve impulses that cause pain. The treatment is known to create a tingly feeling when applied, and it is also possible to have a permanent “simulator” embedded under the skin to provide electrical impulses automatically.
- Piriformis muscle injections: A piriformis muscle injection (PMI) is similar to an epidural in that it is a solution composed of both steroids and local anesthetics/saline intended to reduce swelling and release anesthetics. However, it is injected directly into the piriformis muscle, a small muscle in the pelvic region that, if infected or injured, can cause sciatica and lower back/buttock pain.
There are more treatments available for chronic pain conditions. However, the important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what, there are ways to manage constant pain. These treatments, if applied correctly, can greatly improve the quality of a patient’s life.