There are many types of treatments for chronic pain. A lot of these treatments require medication or surgery. But there are also treatments which focus on reducing pain by training the brain without drugs. In this article we focus on the different methods out there, and how you know which chronic pain treatment is best suitable for you.
Can you treat chronic pain?
Fortunately, chronic pain can be treated. Medical science has been researching the treatment of chronic pain for many years. In order to know how chronic pain treatment works, it is good to understand how pain arises.
Different from what many people think, pain arises in the brain. Your brain creates pain when it thinks you are in danger. In doing so your brain takes action, very quickly. It looks at what happens in your body, but also takes your feelings and thoughts about pain into account. The brain also weighs up where your attention is and what you are doing. Medical professionals often call this the biopsychosocial model in which body (biology), mind (psychology) and your environment (social) all play a role in chronic pain.
Consequently, the model makes chronic pain more difficult to treat than, for example, a broken leg. A broken leg is mainly a biological problem. Chronic pain has such an impact on your life, your feelings and your thoughts, that a simple approach often does not work.
We speak of chronic pain when there is a continuous or recurring pain that lasts longer than a regular healing period. Typically, an average healing period of an illness, injury or pain lasts longer than three to six months.
The good news is that there are increasingly better treatment programmes that take the biological, psychological and social factors of chronic pain into account.
What treatments for chronic pain are available?
Biological treatments for chronic pain are often referred to as medical or medical treatments. It usually means taking medication, as well as operations and injections such as nerve blockades.
All medical treatments that focus on reducing pain, often measure the score given to the pain. The most common disadvantage of the majority of the medical treatments are side effects. Painkillers, in particular, are known to have a negative effect on attention, concentration and your feelings. Similarly, many alternative chronic pain treatments focus more on biologies, such as CBD oil or acupuncture.
Many possibilities exist as well within the psychological treatments for pain. These are usually treatments with a psychologist, but many physiotherapists also focus on pain and psychology. Treatments that focus more on the psychological side of pain, often aim to understand the pain better, to feel better about yourself and to do more in life. In addition, there are psychological strategies in which you learn to train your brain and thus directly influence your feeling of pain. Pain education, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and mindfulness are common treatments that are used for pain.
At Reducept we focus on digitally offering this knowledge during the training of your brain. Digital or online training is also called e-health. E-Health is a collective term for digital applications in healthcare to support or improve your health as a patient. These digital applications can be actively used by clients, patients, athletes and pupils.
Another type of treatments that focus on the social side are often aimed at returning to work, expanding activities in life and improving social contact. Sometimes this is part of a work programme, or you are in contact with a social worker.For example, psychologists are also often partly engaged in building up activities that can also improve your social contacts.
Finally, treatments that combine several of these components are also in use to battle chronic pain. For example, there is specialist medical rehabilitation treatment, in which you are helped in a rehabilitation centre by professionals from different backgrounds. You will have a doctor, physiotherapist and psychologist who will treat you collectively in one of the treatment sessions. This is also referred to as multidisciplinary treatment. These are intensive treatments in which you follow treatment several days a week or even spend the night in a rehabilitation centre for a while.
Which treatment for chronic pain is right for you?
In most cases your GP will make a referral to the person they think is most suitable for your problems. If for the first time you start to suffer from pain, it is often a specialist in the hospital who will examine you. They will try to determine whether there is a condition that can explain the pain properly. This could be rheumatism or MS for example.
If there is an underlying disorder for the pain, it will be treated. Sometimes a specialist in the hospital will refer the patient to a physiotherapist, a psychologist, or even to a rehabilitation centre, if the symptoms are severe.
It is not always possible to find a cause for the pain or to make a specific diagnosis. As a result, broader diagnoses are sometimes made, such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome. For these diagnoses it is very difficult to choose an appropriate treatment. However, most of the time it can be helpful to look at improving your health and underlying condition with the guidance of a physiotherapist. Only using your body.
Alternatively, you can talk to a psychologist about living with pain. New digital treatments such as Reducept also bring hope to these patients, because they train the brain where the pain arises. In many cases, patients succeed in living with the pain. Most of the patients even manage to reduce the pain. Reducept users report experiencing 74% less pain as a result of using the Reducept training app.
If chronic pain persists, several health centres for pain control are available for you in the Netherlands, often located in a hospital and within these departments. In those institutions and departments, you often get a medical examination to see whether the pain can be reduced, or at least become tolerable.
Which treatment is most suitable for your situation depends on your preferences. Especially when there is no quick solution for the pain, it is hard to choose how to proceed. If you are in this situation, however, it is indicated that learning more about how pain works and finding ways of influencing and coping with the pain yourself can be rewarding.This is exactly what we focus on at Reducept. You deserve a life with less pain.
The future of chronic pain treatments
As far as we are concerned, the future of treatments for chronic pain lies in training the brain. After years of medical research, we know that the brain plays an important role in the creation and maintenance of pain. Whether you have pain in your back or legs, ultimately all pain arises in the brain. Through the Reducept training, you train the source of the problem and pick up skills along the way that you can use for the rest of your life. Without the side effects we know from medication.
If you would like to find out if Reducept also works for you, you can now try it out for yourself and use the Reducept training method for free for two weeks. Click here to try it out.