Pain is the body’s natural response to alert you that something is wrong. However, there is a difference between acute and chronic pain.
Acute pain is caused by improper lifting, a sudden twisting of the body or repetitive motions. It typically goes away quickly. Chronic pain, however, lasts three months or more and may be the sign of a serious condition.
Chronic pain can make it hard to go about your daily life. Whether it’s low back pain or a headache that just won’t quit, you might not need pain medication to feel better.
“One of the challenges is that people don’t know there are alternatives to pain medications,” says Lara N. Zador, M.D., a pain management specialist at Henry Ford Health System. “Our role in pain management is to connect patients with the options that are best for their unique situation. We often consider non-medication options.”
- Regular exercise: Exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you’re in pain, but it can improve blood flow to speed your body’s natural healing process.
- Integrative medicine techniques: Integrative techniques tap into the mind- body connection and combine breath, movement and mindfulness to relieve pain by calming your mind.
- Stress management: There is a strong connection in the brain between stress and pain. Finding healthy ways to cope with the pressures of life can help control your symptoms.
- Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening muscles with the help of a physical therapist not only relieves pain, it can prevent it from coming back.
There are a variety of benefits to overcoming chronic pain without medication. Many people enjoy not having to remember to take pills several times a day. Other benefits include avoiding unpleasant side effects that may come with medication. In some cases, especially when non-medication treatments aren’t successful, medication is the best option.
“When medications are appropriate, we consider each patient’s lifestyle, overall health and personal preferences to prescribe treatments that can help achieve long-term relief without many side effects,” Zador says.
If chronic pain has become part of your daily life, talk with a Henry Ford provider specializing in pain management. Call (800) 436-7936.
Osteoarthritis and Acupuncture
Another form of chronic pain is osteoarthritis, which is a chronic condition of the joints. Changes in weather patterns can worsen this condition. Acupuncture can help by increasing circulation. Thin needles are inserted at specific points along the body to help energy and blood flow properly to release the body’s natural painkillers. Acupuncture also addresses imbalances that may contribute to your pain pattern.
For more information or to schedule an acupuncture appointment, call the Henry Ford Center for Integrative Medicine at (248) 380-6201 or visit HenryFord.com/CIM.