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Chronic Pain Treatment

OPeople Frustrated by not having solution to the painften times, getting treatment for chronic pain can be a long journey. There is no single treatment or approach to successfully treating chronic pain any more than there is a standard person with chronic pain. Rather, there are various different types of treatment options. Because chronic pain affects so many people there are many products and services claiming to help people with chronic pain. People with chronic pain spend a lot of money trying to resolve their condition with products or services. Many of these products or services have little or no value or have not been rigorously tested. But there are also credible products, services and self-management techniques that are effective in helping people better cope with chronic pain.

Note: If you are searching for treatments and health information on the internet, make sure you look at our guidelines for finding trustworthy information and discuss anything you find there with your doctor.

Treatment Options

The following are treatment options that are proven to be effective in helping people with chronic pain.

Before undertaking any of these treatments, you should talk with your doctor about what options might work well with your existing treatment.

Communicating with Your Doctor

Many people find it hard to talk frankly and openly with their doctors. But doctors aren’t mind readers and speaking up is an essential part of being a responsible patient.  Dr. Donald Cegala at the University of Ohio developed a program called PACE to help patients communicate with their physicians.

PACE stands for:

Presenting the doctor with detailed information about how you are feeling.

Asking all those questions you’ve kept in your mind. Often, it helps to write down a list of questions before the visit.

Checking the information the doctor gave you to ensure you fully understand your condition and treatments. 

Expressing any concerns or fears you may have about a medication or treatment or anything else.

Check for PACE workshops in British Columbia hosted by the Division of Health Care Communication at the University of British Columbia.

Resources

  
Sponsor Organization
Communication Tools
American Chronic Pain Association
Communication Videos
One Simple Solution for Medication Safety
Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada
Talking With Your Doctor: Community Workshops
University of British Columbia, Division of Health Care, Communication
Tips to Communicate with Doctors

Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy 

PhysiotherapyChronic pain treatment may include seeing a physical therapist, which has many benefits. Physical therapy can help relieve chronic pain and stiffness. A physical therapist can increase confidence with exercise, help relax tense muscles and teach you more about your body and movement. Similarly, occupational therapists teach you how to reduce strain on your joints during daily activities while maintaining physical fitness. They will show you how to improve your home and work environments to reduce motions that may aggravate your pain. They also may recommend aid devices for daily activities.

Resources

Massage Therapy  

Registered massage therapists are trained in the assessment of soft tissue and joints of the body, and the treatment and prevention of injury, pain and physical disorders.

Resources

Medications  

There is a range of over the counter and prescription medications used for treating chronic pain. It is best to check with your physician as to what is best for you.

Resources

Physical Activity   

Physical activity helps improve physical and mental health. It also plays a vital role in the managing you chronic pain. If approached properly, physical activity helps reduce stiffness and pain, increase energy and stamina, improve sleep quality and promote weight loss and long-term weight management.

It’s important to consult your doctor or physical therapist about a routine that is moderate and will strengthen the appropriate muscles in your body. There are many fitness centres and organizations that have exercise programs which target people with arthritis and fibromyalgia. You can also find more information on simple steps to incorporate physical activity into your everyday life.

Resources

  
Sponsor Organization
Physical Activity and Chronic Pain
Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability
Range of Motion and Strengthening Exercises
University of Washington
Research Reviews on Exercise for Musculoskeletal Conditions
Cochrane Library
Types of Exercises
Canadian Pain Coalition

Moving toward Self-Management

Living with chronic pain can be challenging. Health professionals and researchers have found that self-care and life skills play vital roles in a person's pain and fatigue management. Taking action to improve physical fitness, reduce stress and improve sleep quality can contribute to the successful management of your condition and can reduce your pain levels. Self-management can give you more control over your life         

​Reviewed by Marc White PhD, Scientific & Executive Director, CIRPD (See Review Criteria)

Last Modified: 1/28/2016 1:34 PM

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