I’ve been talking a lot lately about knee pain, which can be caused by trauma and/or age-related degeneration. I think the bigger idea I’d like to address today is the correlation between pain and attitude.
This blog has already addressed the connection between successful rehabilitation and commitment to the process. Now, let’s talk about some of the thought processes that prevent us from finding relief. Let’s figure out why so many people think that age necessarily equals slowing down and accepting pain.
I have an acquaintance who was once a major runner—this guy completed eight marathons (all with a finish time of around or under three hours) as well as countless 5Ks and other running races. Now, at the age of 36, he’s barely willing to go for his usual afternoon run. But why?
This guy has accepted that he’s no longer young enough to be as active as he once was. He also suffers from knee pain. We should probably point out that his father (once a great runner himself) ended up overweight and eventually underwent triple bypass surgery. This might seem like a pretty extreme case but, in reality, it isn’t.
It’s a slippery slope into unhealthy, sedentary living, but one that is understood and accepted in our culture as part of getting older. The consequences of such a lifestyle include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart disease, psychological issues (including depression), and, eventually, early death.
Inactivity can also increase or cause pain. So, if pain is what caused you to be less active in the first place, it’s only going to get worse. In fact, you will most likely end up with more pain in different parts of your body.
Let’s use back pain as an example. Most of us will experience back pain—I think the statistic is 80% of the population—although activity can help patients to avoid this condition. Being overweight, for one, is a major risk factor for back pain. While some people may become overweight due to pain and reduced activity, painful conditions are often caused by excessive weight, creating an unhealthy cycle wherein less activity leads to increased weight, more pain, and even less movement. The same is certainly true for knee pain as well as osteoarthritis, herniated discs, and sciatica.
Over time, unhealthy lifestyles can also lead to muscle weakness. Weakened muscles offer less support for the back and—like being overweight—create a vicious cycle of pain, less activity, more weakness, more pain, etc.
Solutions for Pain in Monmouth County
Okay, so what are you supposed to do when age-related aches and pain begin to affect your ability to stay active and healthy? I’ve spent years creating the type of pain management facility that can provide the multi-disciplinary answer to that very question.
Speaking very generally, pain management is an interdisciplinary branch of medicine designed to ease pain and improve quality of life. Our office really inhabits this definition—we offer medical care (the Director of our Medical department is an expert in pain management); physical therapy; acupuncture; and chiropractic treatment.
Our medical department provides an extensive array of methods for pain reduction, including the very latest in minimally invasive, interventional pain management. The overall goal is to help patients get out of pain 100% while returning to normal activity. We want you to accomplish these goals without surgery or excessive medication.
Let’s use back pain, once again, as an example. The following therapies/procedures may be used to eliminate back pain (all are offered in our Red Bank pain management office):
- Corticosteroid and/or anesthetic injections, including Epidural Steroid Injections, Facet Joint Injections, Trigger Point Injections, Coccyx Injections, Sympathetic Nerve Blocks, and Sacroiliac Joint Injections;
- Radiofrequency Ablation;
- Spinal Decompression Traction;
- Active Rehabilitation (Physical Therapy Exercises);
- Ice and Heat;
- Power Plate Technology;
- Low Level Laser Therapy;
- Chiropractic Care for Back Pain; and
- Acupuncture for Pain Relief.
That’s a lot of options, I know, and not all of them are used for every patient. For the most part, interventional procedures (such as steroid injections) are used in situations where patients are in a tremendous amount of pain and can’t participate in physical therapy.
My point in posting this list is to prove that there are many options for pain relief; you don’t have to stop moving and start spending your days on the couch simply because you are getting older and experiencing pain. Let’s destroy this thought paradigm and replace it with this belief: that getting older doesn’t have to slow you down, that pain is treatable at any age. Contact our Red Bank, New Jersey pain management office for a consultation.