Dealing with pain

Thursday, February 16th 2006, 10:26 am
By: News On 6

Managing pain. News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims explains what people can do, if the pain becomes too much.

The kind of pain we're talking about is not just a simple ankle sprain or a back strain that goes away after a few weeks. Chronic pain can last for months, sometimes even years.

There are doctors who specialize in the treatment of that kind of pain and drugs aren't your only options.

At the Tulsa Spine Hospital, Doctor Scott Anthony sees dozens of patients every day who are in serious pain. "What we deal with is the chronic nature of pain that lingers it stays around it doesnt go away."

Doctor Anthony's job is to try to help prevent, relieve, and manage that pain. The treatment of chronic pain is a fairly new medical field and is often closely linked with powerful drugs like hydrocodone, which can be addictive. “Everybody focuses on opioid or narcotic medications. they serve a role but they're not the only kind of medications we use for chronic pain."

Anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, and other medications are also used. But Doctor Anthony says pills are only part of the solution. He says exercise, physical therapy and mental therapy all play a role.

And he also says alternative medicines like acupuncture, meditation and the power of prayer can help patients feel better. "Getting better is not pain free its I can do more its functioning I can spend more time with family I can return to work those types of things."

It's not an easy road and they're no easy answers, but Doctor Anthony says the science of pain is getting better and better. “Don’t give up there are always options.”

Some pain medications like hydrocodone can be addictive. But Doctor Anthony says the research shows for patients who haven't shown addictive behavior before, the chance of becoming addicted to hydrocodone is one in 10,000.

He also says its part of his role as a doctor to make sure patients don't become addicted.