Non-Medication Treatments for Chronic Pain
Many of our clients experience disabling conditions that result in chronic pain. This can be especially true for dentists, as they are uniquely susceptible to musculoskeletal conditions, degenerative disc disease, carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel syndrome, etc., due to the physical demands of their profession.
We’ve found that many of our clients who experience chronic pain are interested in exploring other options of dealing with the pain, beyond pain medications. At the same time, they often have difficulty researching other options due to their pain levels and the fact that many of these conditions make it extremely uncomfortable to be at a computer for extended periods of time.
To that end, we’ve put together a list of some of the treatment options some of our clients have looked into. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, or a substitute for consulting with your doctor—it is merely meant to serve as a starting point for those who are looking into alternative treatments for chronic pain.
- Ablation – a portion of nerve tissue is removed or destroyed in order to cause an interruption in pain signals and reduce pain in the treated area(s).
- Acupuncture – very thin needles are strategically placed in the skin to interrupt pain signals.
- Amnion allograft – an injection with amniotic components from a donated placenta, used with the goal of regulating the inflammation-healing cycle.
- Biofeedback – a technique to learn to control some of the body’s functions. One type involves using an electromyograph to monitor the electrical activity that causes muscle contractions. The feedback received can help patients make changes in their body to help reduce pain.
- Chiropractic Therapy – spinal manipulation with the goal of restoring mobility and providing pain relief for muscles, joints, bones and connective tissue.
- Cryotherapy – exposure to extremely cold temperatures, with the aim of reducing inflammation and pain, and healing joints.
- Injections or nerve blocks – local anesthetics, steroids, or other medications that are injected as a way to short-circuit pain. They can also be used diagnostically.
- Physical Therapy – a physical therapist creates a specialized exercise/stretching program to try and relieve pain and increase function. Treatments such as taping, electrical nerve stimulation, whirlpools, heat, ice, and ultrasounds may also be used as part of the treatment regimen.
- Platelet-rich plasma injections – a procedure where concentrations of an individual’s own platelets are injected, with the goal of accelerating the healing of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and/or joints.
- Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) – a device that is surgically placed under the skin and sends a mild electric current into the spine to relieve pain.
For additional information on the risks and possible benefits of these treatments, you can visit the resources below and talk to your medical providers.
These posts are for informative purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with and diagnosis by a medical professional. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above and have yet to consult with a doctor, do not use this resource to self-diagnose. Please contact your doctor immediately and schedule an appointment to be evaluated for your symptoms.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
University of Arizona
University of Utah