More than 100 million Americans suffer from severe pain, an incidence rate which outpaces heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. Pain can make simple tasks like grocery shopping and hanging out with your family hard. At Ochsner Health, we’re here to fix the problem, not just the pain. Pain is often referred to as the body’s fifth vital sign. It is your body’s way of responding to injury, illness or stress. Anxiety or stress may increase the pain you feel. The following are some terms you may hear your doctor use when talking about pain.
- Chronic Pain – pain that is present for months, even years, that is unresponsive to many treatments.
- Acute Pain – Pain that lasts less than three months and is responsive to many treatments.
- Breakthrough Pain – an unpredictable episode of severe pain not controlled by your current pain regimen.
- Pathologic Pain – more severe pain than would be expected for the illness being treated. It may indicate a complication or the occurrence of a different medical problem.
*COMING SOON IN JUNE 2022*
Empowered Relief™ chronic pain education class:
- Learn about pain and what you can do to help yourself
- Gain pain relief skills you can use right away
- Receive a free binaural relaxation audiofile
- Create a personal plan for pain relief
- Bring a friend or family member with you!
Please join us for a 2-hour single session class developed at Stanford University!
Pain medicine often works better when taken on a regular schedule rather than “as needed” in response to discomfort. Also, if you know that pain may worsen with an activity, take medication first to prevent discomfort. Your nurse may be able to assist you with other pain relief measures, such as breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, positioning, splinting and so forth.
A Few Words About Opiates
You can’t turn on the news today without hearing about people who resort to street drugs after becoming hooked on legal prescription pain medication. Here at Ochsner, our goal is to get to the root of your pain and not to give you a band-aid solution. Research shows that high doses of opioid medications have great risks without long-term benefits. When we prescribe opiates, it is at lower doses for short-term use.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is pain that affects the back, hip and outer side of the leg caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back. It most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine compresses part of the nerve. It can cause inflammation and often numbness in the affected leg. Alternating heat and ice therapy can provide immediate relief of sciatic nerve pain.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints. Infections or underlying diseases, such as psoriasis or lupus, can cause other types of arthritis.