Sometimes, the fact that surgery or pain killers cannot treat all kinds of pain is not being considered seriously. Though living with undiagnosed or untreated chronic pain is seen by some as a sign of incredible resilience, it has many detrimental effects on our body beyond suffering. Accepting pain to be a part of life or ageing, restricts individuals from exploring the existing treatment modalities and negatively impacts on the quality of life. Prevalence of individuals experiencing some form of pain is quite high, in fact one in every five person suffers from pain which without the right treatment can last forever.
Supported by the latest technology and specialist training, pain physicians worldwide have been striving to alleviate every type of pain. As every individual process pain differently, this is a challenging task, requiring an individualised, multi-disciplinary and multi modal approach. Persistent pain can have a huge negative impact on the quality of life but it usually leaves patients blaming themselves for the pain. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Amod Manocha, Head of Pain Management Services at Max Hospital, about the advanced technological treatments for alternative pain management.
Technologies for alternative pain management
Technological advancement and availability of new interventional techniques are changing the way we look at age old problems and what we offer to our patients for pain relief. These new options offer advantages of being minimally invasive, day care procedures without any prolonged rehabilitation requirements and with the potential of offering long lasting pain relief. According to Dr. Amod, here are 4 technological advanced treatments for pain relief:
1. Radiofrequency ablation
This minimally invasive technique offers a ray of hope for patients with pain including those originating from joints such as neck, lower back, hip, knee and shoulder. The focus in this procedure is to deactivate the nerves transmitting pain signals which can in turn improve functionality and reduced medication requirements. The awareness for this commonly performed procedure in developed countries is now increasing in India. This option offers a safe, effective, non-surgical alternative and in most cases the nerve cells regenerate within 1-2 years of therapy, at which point, if necessary, the procedure can be repeated.
This technology has undergone significant advancement over the years and can be used for relief in a magnitude of pain conditions including cancer pain, arthritis of large joints such as the knee, hip and shoulder, joints in the spine, sacroiliac joints, nerve pain, post-surgical pain, pain after rib fracture etc. The main goal of cryoablation treatment is deactivation of the nerves transmitting the pain signals by numbing them in a controlled manner to low temperature as minus 80 degrees. This treatment does not require any cuts or incisions and has the potential of providing quick and lasting relief. Less pain can turn into improved functional ability, reduced painkiller requirements and reduced disability.
Also read: 10 Home Remedies for Arthritis & Joint Pain
Actipatch is another alternative treatment for pain relief that can be used for chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, sports injury, fibromyalgia, neuropathy and post-surgical pain. Actipatch is a non-invasive, electroceutical device that focuses on using electromagnetic fields to stimulate your nerve activity, reducing the brain’s reaction towards pain. The device generates signals at 1 kHz into the painful tissue, preventing the brain realising the pain.
Neurolumen is a medical device that can be used to provide quick and effective pain relief. This device helps in improving the blood circulation in your body, thus reducing pain. It is an innovative combination of light therapy with electrical stimulation. One can get positive results instantly within the first 30 minutes to 1 hour of this alternative pain treatment. Neurolumen is a light and portable device. It can be used to treat pain in the back, knees, shoulders and pain in many other parts of the body.
Technological advancements such as availability of portable high-definition ultrasound, newer medications, intrathecal pump implants, spinal cord stimulators etc, have drastically improved the diagnostic and interventional methods of pain management and are help doctors in keeping up with patient expectations.