Chronic pain does not need to dominate our lives. But, how can we avoid it? When we hurt, we don’t sleep well, we may lose our appetite, we are emotionally and physically drained, and we want to isolate ourselves from others.
“That’s the wrong approach, we need to take active steps to deal with the pain,” said Ashtabula County Medical Center Pain Management Specialist Theodore Eckman, MD, who is trained to get to the root of chronic pain and provide treatment options to help patients cope with day-to-day pain. Chronic pain is a consistent pain that lasts for more than a few weeks. It can affect the arms, back, legs, neck, or spinal cord. Treatment options range from simple lifestyle changes to medication to surgery.
“Since each person’s pain and pain tolerance is different, we develop individual treatment options,” Dr. Eckman said. “Pain management is not about giving you a drug that masks the pain. We focus on healing the source of the pain. We’ve got to determine that source and develop a treatment plan that improves your well-being.”
Dr. Eckman said there are two common areas that show positive results for reducing pain – lifestyle changes and physical therapy. Lifestyle adjustments include:
- Staying physically active: Many avoid physical activity to minimize the pain, but exercise releases endorphins which make us feel better. Resuming normal activity can also help loosen tight muscles and provide quicker relief than staying in bed.
- Reducing stress: When we are stressed, our muscles tighten, or we grit our teeth. However, when we lessen the stress in our lives, we are more relaxed and better able to react in ways that do not strain our bodies.
Physical therapy helps a person relearn how to move a muscle after months or years of pain.
“When we hurt, we move our bodies in a different way to avoid the pain. Unfortunately, that can lead to further health problems,” Dr. Eckman said. “We need to lessen the risk for injury, while correctly treating the source of the pain.”
Pain management is not a quick fix for the pain.
“By properly diagnosing the source of the pain, we can deliver targeted therapy which has greater effectiveness and fewer side effects, meaning the patient can resume as much of their day-to-day activities as possible as we work toward alleviating their pain.”
To discuss your pain management options with Dr. Eckman, schedule an appointment by calling 440-997-6700.