Ending a life of chronic pain

Before you can get rid of the pain, you must first know how to define it and what treatments are available.

In its most basic form, pain warns you that something isn’t quite right. At the other end of the spectrum it can compromise your productivity, wellness and even your life. Statistics Canada’s Nation Population Health Survey in 1994-95 (NPHS) showed that as the amount of pain intensifies both mental distress and sleep disorders increase and it is worse in women than men. Regardless of the severity, that throbbing or twinge is an intricate perception that differs vastly among individuals, even if the discomfort appears to be similar.

Doctors and clinicians agree that there are two basic types of pain: accute and chronic. Many people believe that these terms relate to the degree of irritation you are enduring. This is not true.

Acute pain is generally a result of disease, inflammation or injury to tissues. This type of condition may come on quickly after a trauma or surgery and may be associated with anxiety or emotional distress. It can usually be diagnosed and treated because it is confined to a period of less than six months. A treatment should be addressed immediately because statistics show that 20% of patients’ conditions become chronic due to not getting appropriate and adequate care quickly enough.

Chronic pain lasts for six months or more. It can, and often does, cause severe problems for patients. Lack of energy, irritability, depression, lack of sleep, decreased sexual desire, decline in functional ability, professional and economical loss, family problems, lack of leisure and recreational activities are among a long list of very common problems. Where once people thought they just had to live with chronic pain, it too can be treated and that treatment utilizes 80% of healthcare costs. This enormous cost is due to the facts that a person with this condition is more likely to be admitted to hospitalized for an average of four days per year and visit their doctor an average of 13 times per year. Add to that the drug costs and most anyone would choose to seek treatment.

The clinic you select to treat your pain is as important as the method of treatment. Depending on where you live in Canada, your provincial health care coverage may pay for some of your procedures. Group or personal health insurance plans usually cover what the province doesn’t but be sure to check what is covered and what is not before you even begin choosing a clinic. Make sure the clinic you select is conveniently located so your problems are not aggravated by a long trip. Your first visit should include a physical exam and a discussion of options and goals before any treatments are given.

One option you may be presented with is laser therapy. Lasers are the treatment of choice for pain control and tissue healing in rehabilitation medicine because they are safe and generate remarkable results with no radiation or side effects. The basic mechanism of the laser is to provide light energy – photons, which enter the tissue and initiate chemical processes for the reduction of pain/inflammation and the healing of tissues.

Dr. Don Fitz-Ritson of the Advanced Therapeutic Centre in Toronto who specializes in Pain and Rehabilitation had a male patient who was 45 years old and was suffering from low pain back for over 20 months from herniated discs. An Orthopedic Surgeon had scheduled the patient for surgery in six weeks. Sleeping for this patient was difficult and even sitting and walking increased the pain. Non-invasive, low level laser therapy was initiated for pain control and healing for his herniated discs. Core exercises were recommended to strengthen the muscles. After the 8th laser treatment the patient was sleeping better, sitting and walking easier. There was still pain, but the sharpness was gone. By the 16th treatment the patient was sitting and walking easier. He even began smiling.

On his pre-surgical visit, the Orthopedic Surgeon said that no surgery was required. The patient is now pain free and playing golf.

This patient is one example of how effective therapy can resolve neuro-muscular problems. If you, or your loved ones suffer with either an acute or chronic condition, your relief may also be a few simple treatments away.

If you have any questions about how you can live pain free please call 416-361-9900. Our Centre is located in Toronto and is open Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays. You can also email us directly at [email protected]

The Advanced Therapeutic Centre
8 King Street East, Suite 800
Toronto, Ontario M5C 1B5