New options and standard treatment
Treating pain is not always as easy as taking medication, purchased over the counter when things are bad. There are many other aspects involved, especially when the pain is severe, long-lasting or disabling. There are trained experts in this field, members of the British Pain Society, who spend their time managing these complicated and difficult problems and whose expertise is often in triaging the correct treatment for a specific patient with a specific pain syndrome. Dr Tavakkoli, at the London Spine Clinic, is expert in these matters.
Treatments vary from simple medication advice, knowing how to make the best out of the drugs available, through a range of strategies aimed at working with the pain, to minimize its impact on the patients’ lifestyle, but to keep it under control. These techniques are often bundled together as “pain management”. With severe problems, or pain limiting activities, a variety of devices can be used, such as TENS machines (to mask pain), supporting belts or braces to take pressure off the injured areas or other options may be needed.
These options include injections, to suppress inflammation (usually steroid injections) or to relieve muscle spasms or knots (trigger point injections – often local anaesthetic). Coupled with appropriate exercises, these techniques can be very effective in reducing the patients’ symptoms and allowing them to both get fit again and get on with their lives.
Dealing with the pain, from a personal perspective, can be difficult, especially when it impacts on many other aspects of life. Counselling through these difficult times can be invaluable. Tikkii Mawson, here at the London spine Clinic, has many years' experience in this and is available to help our patients through their treatment and after.
If the pain continues for a long time, becoming a "chronic" pain, there are still treatment options available. The team at the London Spine Clinic use neuromodulation techniques, to alter the way the pain signals are transmitted and interpreted by the brain. These techniques, which include certain medications, spinal cord and other types of neuro-stimulator, are now available within the unit, usually covered by private health insurance.