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There are several methods to manage pain. Complete cure of pain is not always possible or realistic, but improvement can often be very satisfying. Equally important is improved level of activity and function. Treatment usually includes one or more of the following:
Nerve blockade – stopping pain signals that travel through a nerve or nerves can be an effective way of treating pain. Often, special nerves must be blocked by a special technique best known by anesthesiologists. Various medications used with nerve blocks include local anesthetics and steroids. These injections may block pain, reduce swelling, decrease muscle spasm and/or improve motion. Types of blocks include: trigger point injections. Sympathetic ganglion blocks, epidural steroid injections and others.
Pain medications – non–narcotic pain medications are the basis for treatment in non–acute or non–cancer pain. These medications include: Electric stimulation – Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Galvanic nerve stimulation are ways to treat many pain problems. The TENS unit helps to decrease pain signals to the brain.
Physical therapy – Referral to physical therapy for improvement of the range of motion, stretching and strengthening exercises, whirlpool, massage and other therapies might be indicated.
Surgery – On rare occasions, surgical treatment may be suggested for long term improvement.