How Chronic Pain is Impacting America

The statistics on chronic pain are clear: millions of Americans seek relief from pain. Many face chronic pain that originates from preexisting conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, and sports-related injuries, but millions still suffer from pain without knowing why. Is there a better answer for those suffering so severely from chronic pain without any end in sight?

How Many Adults Are Dealing with Chronic Pain

Although chronic pain has impacted millions’ lives, it seems that a viable solution still has not been found.

The battle of the opioid epidemic continues to loom, leaving many feelings of loss of hope. When medication is needed, but it cannot be obtained, what happens?

The new trail of chronic pain often leads to a referral to a pain medicine doctor. Once the individual meets with their pain management doctor, they then discuss the injuries or source of pain and a treatment plan.

The most common treatment plan proposed consists of the following:

  • Cortisone injections
  • Prescription medication like NSAIDs
  • Physical therapy
  • Nerve block
  • Professional Massage

When these pieces of the plan don’t seem to work, a patient is often referred to a surgeon. This is done in the case that an individual needs some surgical intervention.

Some of the most common types of pain include:

  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Leg pain

Each type of pain can be treated specifically for the cause, but can it be treated at the source? It’s challenging to say depending on the patient that is suffering from chronic pain.

Ultimately, what does it cost for someone to become a patient of a pain management doctor?

The Cost of Chronic Pain

The Cost of Chronic Pain

Our current healthcare system isn’t perfect by any means, and that means that most treatments for chronic pain are paid out of pocket.

Insurance can cover some of the costs, but people still pay a copay for their doctor visits. When you combine that with the prices for whatever treatment is prescribed, you’re even spending a decent amount of money simply treating pain. Studies show that Americans end up spending over  $600 billion each year on chronic pain treatments.

The reason why this number is so high is because of a few reasons. The propensity for many Americans to lack insurance is undoubtedly part of it. Still, another problem is that many of these treatments aren’t successful in ending the cause of the pain. Painkillers or a nerve block can provide temporary relief, but it doesn’t stop the need to make recurring payments on managing pain.

And when you consider the logistics of something like a nerve block, it’s easy to see how much money is spent managing pain. A procedural nerve block often requires careful placement by an anesthesiologist and doctors and nurses nearby to ensure the procedure goes smoothly and manage any complications. It takes time and effort, which ultimately costs money.

What Can be Helpful Outside of Pain Management Clinics?

For someone who wants to break the cycle of paying for pain management, it starts by identifying the cause of your particular pain. Is it from a lingering injury? Bad posture? Is a muscle or tendon becoming too inflexible to do its job correctly? Too much strain? There are numerous ways to deal with pain in a healthy way. But it starts by learning what is triggering that pain.

For posture issues, for example, orthopedic supports can help relieve the strain as you work to strengthen the muscles in question. Chiropractic’s work well on things like back and shoulder pain and tension. There are plenty of pain points that originate from spinal misalignment.

Chiropractors excel at finding the origin point of pain, if nothing else, which is immensely beneficial to cure pain ultimately. Although it’s counterintuitive to how people in the United States treat medicine as a whole, it’s worth considering that maybe this approach should be tried first.

Additionally, stretching is often paired with chiropractic. Extension can keep the muscles loose and pliable. When the body is resting for too long, the forces can become stiff, causing the body to tighten and bring on soreness.

Stretching and partaking in things like yoga is ideal for the individual who wants to feel better, reduce pain and strain, and use these with chiropractic, the benefits can be excellent.

Keep working at it, even if you are on medication. Over time, if you take less medication, that’s a significant step in the right direction.