Pain becomes chronic when it lasts longer than a few weeks or affects your ability to function like you normally would. When patients see her for the first time, Marshall says many of them have the misconception that pain medication is the only way they can be treated.
However, even if you’ve tried different procedures or treatments in the past, advancements in medications and procedures are always being made, so there are a lot of treatment choices available to help with different types of pain, she said.
Chronic pain is a part of many people’s lives, but it doesn’t have to be.
“Usually, we see a lot of patients waiting to get care for their pain until it limits what they can do,” says Kimberly Marshall, pain management physician assistant at Aurora Medical Center Summit working in collaboration with Dr. Colin Stair. “If your pain is starting to affect you enjoying time with family, your work life, or your activity level, it may be time to get checked out before it gets any worse.”
She suggests a few options people can consider:
- Chiropractic care: This integrative approach can help relieve or eliminate pain.
- Interventional pain: If less invasive options aren’t helping, spinal injections might be an option.
- Pain management: Different medications are available that can improve quality of life and control pain.
- Physical therapy: There are different rehabilitation services to reduce your pain and recover function.
- Yoga: Stretching and staying active helps relieve pain and prevent future injury.
- Surgical treatment options: If surgery is necessary, there is an assortment of minimally invasive options available.
Having a multidisciplinary approach with a range of specialists supports you and gives you the best care based on your needs, she said. This team often includes physical therapy, chiropractic care, sports medicine physicians, interventional pan doctors, and neurosurgeons.
If your pain isn’t improving or you have concerns, Marshall recommends reaching out to your primary care provider and so they can help evaluate and determine next steps, including if a referral is appropriate.