Pain Management Practices Have Advanced in Recent Years
Chronic pain affects millions of people all across the globe, yet many of us don’t understand how to manage it properly. Pain can be debilitating, whether you are suffering from an acute injury or a chronic condition like SI joint dysfunction. If you’ve ever had back pain or trauma to another part of your body, there’s a good chance you’ve turned to pain management drugs for relief. However, this isn’t always the best option. As we’ve seen over the last decade, pain drugs can be extremely harmful and addicting. Sure, there are times when these drugs are necessary, but we’ve gotten in the habit of popping a pill with every minor ache and pain. The present-day opioid epidemic is a reflection of how dependent we’ve become on these medications.
The Opioid Epidemic Wreaks Havoc on American Lives
Since 2017, over 47,000 Americans have died as a result of an opioid epidemic. An additional 1.7 million Americans were diagnosed with substance abuse disorders related to prescription pain killers in 2017. In 2018, more than 10 million teens and adults reportedly misused opioids. And perhaps most shockingly, 130 people die every day from an opioid overdose on average. These numbers may come as a surprise to many, but others are all too familiar with the dangers of pain medications. Because of this, we have seen a shift towards alternative therapies and pain management tools, such as stem cell therapy and other forms of regenerative medicine.
With the start of a new year and new decade, chronic pain sufferers all over the country are opting for safer, more effective ways to relieve pain and discomfort. However, over the years, we have seen the devastation that opioid addiction has caused. While opioids are often prescribed to treat chronic pain, the numbers mentioned above show that they’ve done quite the opposite.
Thanks to new research and incredible advances in pain management, we are learning that pain killers aren’t the best solution. This is why we want to help you find safe alternatives that treat the root of the problem rather than mask your symptoms. Earlier this month, we told you how making healthy lifestyle choices can contribute to an effective pain management plan for 2020, and today we are going to build off that theme.
At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we strive to educate our patients and help them find the best tools and therapies for their needs. No two people are the same, and pain manifests in many different ways. By taking a tailored approach to each patient, we can help each person get back on their feet and achieve optimal health. Today we are going to take a closer look at the advances in pain management, what this means for chronic pain sufferers, and what technologies will help manage pain in the future.
Chronic Pain Facts
Acute and chronic pain show up in many different ways, affecting the individual and their loved ones. According to the CDC, chronic pain affects 20 percent of Americans. Until recently, pain management primarily consisted of opioids and other prescription pain medications. Before we look at how pain management has changed in recent years, let’s go over a few additional facts about pain:
- Chronic pain is pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks
- Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide (27 percent)
- Headaches and migraine are the second most prevalent type of chronic pain
- 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain (1.5 billion worldwide)
- Half of all working Americans experience back pain at some point every year
- Back pain accounts for over 264 million missed workdays every year
- 80 percent of the global population will experience back pain during their lifetime
- 77 percent of chronic pain sufferers experience anxiety or depression
- 51 percent of people living with chronic pain say they have “little or no control over their pain.”
- 20 percent of Americans say pain disrupts their sleep
- 63 percent of people go to their family doctor for pain; 25 percent see a chiropractor; 15 percent visit a doctor specializing in pain
These numbers speak for themselves. With so many people facing pain on a daily basis, it is no wonder there is a need for medicine to catch up. Thanks to advances in pain management and a different viewpoint on how to properly manage pain, more and more people are finding long-term relief that doesn’t involve taking pain medications.
How Pain Management Has Changed
As opioid use increased, we bore witness to countless preventable deaths, cognitive and behavioral changes, and social implications. It became clear there was a need for sustainable and safer pain management. Regenerative medicine is a field of medicine that has been around for years. It aims to treat, repair, and replace damaged cells, tissues, and organs through various therapies, such as stem cells and ketamine infusions. As our relationship with pain management changes, so will the treatments people seek.
Alternative pain management solutions
Some of the most compelling alternative pain management solutions out there today include:
- Stem cell therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
- Chinese medicine, including various herbs and supplements like anti-inflammatory turmeric
- Stress management through approaches such as:
- Relaxation therapy
- Music therapy
- Nerve blocks
- Peripheral nerve stimulator
What to Expect
As we learn more about the dangers of pain medications and the more direct alternatives that are proving to be even more effective, we hope chronic pain sufferers will find relief. One of the main takeaways from advances in pain management and the increasing popularity of stem cells is that personalization is critical. By taking an individualized approach to predicting and managing pain, we expect patients to experience much higher success rates. When combined with an improved understanding of the pain process and complications that may arise with the extended use of manufactured drugs, this knowledge is a game-changer.
If you are living with acute or chronic pain, or if you would like us to help you develop a customized pain management plan, contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group and schedule an appointment today. We are here to answer your questions and help you find techniques and therapies that work for your specific needs. You don’t have to live with pain — give us a call today.