What is the Best Chronic Pain Relief?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 December 2019
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Those who have long lasting and difficult pain may require treatment with a variety of different strategies. Part of treatment efforts depend on controlling any symptoms that are causing the pain, but other parts of traditional medical treatment could involve using medications or other therapies that help to directly reduce discomfort. The medical model for treating chronic pain is not the only potential treatment model and pain sufferers may turn to psychological treatments or a variety of alternative medicines to address ongoing physical distress.

In traditional medical settings, the goal of achieving chronic pain relief is to identify cause, potentially alleviate or cure that cause, and to give medications needed to prevent painful sensations. It’s easy to see how many different treatments might be part of this, since serious discomfort can arise from so many sources. Some conditions resulting in severe pain require a surgical approach or physical therapy, and others might need medicines that help to reduce conditions like swelling or inflammation. A number of inflammatory conditions are treated with drugs like steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These may help reduce symptoms or fully arrest them, ending a painful condition.


Along with any treatments, pain medications may be considered as part of chronic pain relief. Drugs like NSAIDs could be useful, or people might need stronger medicines such as opioids. The latter help to act on pain as it occurs, helping the body ignore or shut off its perception of it. Drugs like opioids have the disadvantage of creating dependency, and they must be used with care so that dependency does not progress to addictive behaviors. When used with caution, these medicines can provide a person with relief from chronic pain, though people can develop tolerance to them over time. A potential alternative to opioids is medical marijuana, but this is not available everywhere.

The medical model for chronic pain relief now very often recommends a person receive psychological therapy. Since pain is influenced by perception, altering perception may change how much people are affected by a chronic condition. A number of pain clinics exist that specialize in working with patients to find the right medications and to use techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy to approach pain from a thinking/feeling perspective. Studies have shown many benefits from participation in these clinics.

People may be leery of taking opioids or have tried traditional medical approaches and found them less than satisfactory. There are many alternative treatments that address chronic pain, which can be tried. Some of these include traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, shamanistic healing, and herbal medicines.

From a research perspective these alternatives have not always proven particularly useful, but neither have traditional pain treatments. Moreover, each person may respond to treatments differently. In the end, the best chronic pain relief comes from safe treatment that helps to alleviate pain. This may mean using a variety of methods or a single one that accomplishes this goal.



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