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Pain relief options

Pain is the most common reason that Americans seek care from health professionals and is a leading cause of disability. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, one out of every four Americans has suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours. Fortunately, there are many different treatment options, especially for people with long-term chronic pain.

Here are some options for treating pain outlined by both the Cleveland and Mayo Clinics.

People suffering with pain often benefit from either physical and psychological therapy or a combination of both. Both of these treatment options need input from professional therapists. A physical therapist is often able to help build up a tolerance to pain through gradually increased, targeted exercise. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people deal with the cause of the pain and learn to manage it.

Manipulation and massage
This method of pain relief is performed by professional massage therapists who use touch to manipulate the tissues of the body to promote healing, release tension and reduce pain. There are more than 80 different techniques. Some use intense pressure while other use a more gentle pressure. The massage is often combined with other relaxation techniques like dim lighting and soothing music. Research has shown that massage therapy can reduce pain, decrease autoimmune illness and increase immune functions.

The two most common prescription medications for pain are opioids and benzodiazepines. Steroids, antidepressants and anti-seizure medicines are also sometimes used. Many people use over-the-counter medication options for pain including aspirin, acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen. Although these options are effective for short-term relief, there is little research about the effectiveness of their long-term use.

Application of heat or cold
Using heat or cold to treat pain is very common, but many people apply them incorrectly. Heat therapy is effective because it improves circulation and blood flow to a particular area. This can often relax or soothe a sore muscle and increase healing of damaged tissues. The heat can be dry like a heating pad or moist like a hot bath or steamed towel. Usually 15 to 20 minutes of heat application provides relief but it can be continued for up to two hours. Heat therapy is not suggested if the painful area is bruised or swollen or if there is an open wound. Increased blood flow to these areas could increase the pain.

In contrast, cold therapy reduces blood flow to an area. This reduction of blood flow can reduce the inflammation and swelling that is causing pain as it presses against a joint or a tendon. Cold can also reduce nerve activity which helps control the pain level. Cold therapy options include ice pack, coolant spray or ice baths. Cold therapy is not effective for stiff muscles or joints. It should not be used on people with poor circulation.

Meditation and relaxation
These approaches to pain involve a variety of methods. Meditation is often coupled with movement through programs like yoga and tai chi. Relaxation techniques include bio-feedback, self-hypnosis and deep breathing. The success of these methods varies from person to person.

A personal choice
Part of the reason that there are so many ways to treat pain is that not one method works for everyone. Pain is deeply personal and so the methods of relief vary from person to person. It is helpful to have trained professionals who are able to correctly apply different treatments until finding the one method or combination of methods that works best for each person.

Having options
Dealing with pain after a medical event can affect recovery time. Instead of trying to seek out different methods of relief after a hospital stay, consider recovery at Whitehall of Deerfield where a team of professionals provides expert pain management and post-surgical care that helps speed up recovery time—as well as in-room massage therapy to help with pain during recovery. Whitehall of Deerfield also offers one-on-one physical and occupational therapies that are carefully designed to get you back home and on your feet as quickly as possible.

Guests who stay at Whitehall of Deerfield will experience a high standard of luxury and attentive service. Guests enjoy the delights of a relaxing massage, an array of delicious cuisine, gourmet coffee, daily newspaper delivery, satellite TV and WiFi, all in a spacious, elegantly-appointed room. Additional special touches such as concierge service and valet parking for visiting family and friends provide a world-class feel.

Choose Whitehall of Deerfield for an exceptional, safe and effective recovery with legendary service. To learn more, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

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