Roughly 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, making it one of the most common chronic medical problems among women and men. Without the right treatment, pain symptoms can keep you from doing activities you enjoy and may even keep you from spending time with friends and loved ones.
Fortunately, today there are more options than ever before for managing chronic pain, including pain from arthritis and sports injuries. Yet the myths surrounding chronic pain and its treatment prevent many people from seeking care.
Joshua D. Harris, MD, is committed to helping people in Houston, Texas, find the best, most effective ways to manage their chronic pain. In this post, he dispels five common myths that might keep you from seeking treatment.
1. There’s no real way to relieve symptoms
Chronic pain typically develops over a long period, beginning with mild symptoms and worsening as time passes. To some degree, this progression may cause people to “accept” their pain as part of their daily lives, leading to an assumption that there’s no way to relieve those symptoms.
There are many treatments for chronic pain management, including treatments that don’t require increasing doses of pain medicines. The key is to work with a specialist like Dr. Harris, who has extensive experience in multiple modalities, enabling you to receive custom care focused on your symptoms, your lifestyle, and other factors unique to you.
2. Chronic pain puts an end to athletics
Sports and physical activities offer plenty of benefits, but in some cases, they can also lead to chronic pain. Many people worry that means they’ll need to give up their activities — but the good news is, that’s not the case.
As a top-ranked sports medicine specialist, Dr. Harris will work with you to help you enjoy your sport without suffering from painful symptoms. In addition to medical treatment, he’ll help you learn ways to “play smarter” to prevent painful friction and inflammation, common causes of chronic pain.
3. Chronic pain is a natural part of aging
There’s a common conception that aches and pains are a normal part of getting older. But pain is never normal: It’s an indication that something’s not right in some part of your body.
Dr. Harris works with older patients to help relieve chronic pain and prevent the cause from worsening. That includes cutting-edge care for arthritis and other injuries due to years of wear and tear.
4. The best treatment for chronic pain is complete rest
RICE — rest, ice, compression, and elevation — is often recommended for acute pain or for chronic pain flare-ups. But generally speaking, avoiding activity for long periods can worsen symptoms.
Regular activity helps keep muscles supple and joints flexible and lubricated. The key is working with your doctor and a physical therapist to reduce or relieve symptoms so you can continue to enjoy your active lifestyle.
5. Surgery is the only “surefire” treatment for chronic pain
There are surgeries that can be very effective in relieving many causes of chronic pain, including pain due to severely damaged joint structures or torn ligaments. Dr. Harris has extensive experience in minimally invasive surgeries, and arthroscopic surgery to diagnose and treat many causes of chronic pain.
However, there are also a variety of nonsurgical treatments that provide meaningful, long-term relief for chronic pain. Physical therapy, medication management, injections of anti-inflammatory agents, and regenerative therapies like platelet-rich plasma therapy are some safe, effective chronic pain treatments that help women and men relieve pain without surgery.
Start the year with a commitment to getting your chronic pain under control. To learn how we can help, call 713-441-8393 or book an appointment online with Dr. Joshua Harris today.