Referring to spikes in pain that go beyond the relief offered by your existing chronic pain medication, breakthrough pain is a noticeable distraction that can occur without warning. However, you don’t necessarily need back or neck surgery to find relief from this type of pain. Usually, you’ll need medication for your chronic pain and additional meds for the spikes, although there are some other steps you can take to help manage breakthrough pain.
Document Your Flare-Ups
Keep track of when you experience breakthrough pain to help your doctor identify potential triggers. In some cases, flare-ups occur shortly before it’s time for another dose. Other times, pain spikes may be related to activities such as taking a shower or overdoing it with household chores or exercise.
Possible solutions to this type of pain include:
- Limiting activities when it’s time for another dose
- Adjusting your existing medication (with doctor approval)
- Modifying movements that seem to trigger flare-ups
Explore Therapeutic Remedies
Physical therapy presents many pain management possibilities that reduce the need for additional medication. Even if you’ve already tried physical therapy without much success, there are plenty of variations that may provide relief, including alternative treatments like acupuncture and milder forms of exercise such as water aerobics and swimming.
Therapies also worth considering include:
- Biofeedback – This involves the use of therapist-guided electronic monitoring to control pain
- TENS units – Through the use of mild electric impulses, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation blocks pain signals along nerve fibers
- Massage therapy – Controlled stimulation sometimes eases muscle tension that can trigger flare-ups
Treat Contributing Factors
Underlying conditions not directly related to the main source of your discomfort may still be making it worse. For instance, anxiety and depression that sometimes affects people living with chronic pain can heighten pain sensitivity.
There is often no rhyme or reason with breakthrough pain, and scientists don’t fully understand why it happens. If you find yourself experiencing frequent flare-ups, avoid the temptation to self-medicate or increase your dosage and check with your doctor or a board-certified spine specialist to see if something has changed with your condition.
Though surgery is not the only way to correct neck and back pain, there are times when it may be necessary. If you’re looking for minimally invasive spinal surgery in Beverly Hills, get in touch with The Spine Institute today. Dr. Bae and his expert team of physicians can diagnose the source of your pain and determine the most effective treatment options. Give us a call at 310-828-7757 to schedule an in-person evaluation.