• Bernard P. Kemker, MD

Why live in pain?

Are you living in pain right now? or

Suffering from an illness that causes pain?


Well, you shouldn’t.

People often avoid seeking medical care even when they suspect it is necessary. Nearly one-third of the respondents in a recent national United States (U.S.) survey, reported avoiding the doctor's consultation. From hearing concerns to depression, back pain and vision loss, a new study examining the health and well-being of 2,000 Americans found a surprisingly high number (60%) have avoided seeking medical help for issues they are worried about. I notice a lot of people who are limping, who are talking about how their arthritis hurts and they think that is just their burden to take care in life.


Reasons why people avoid medical attention

Some of the common reasons why people avoid medical care and live with pain are:

  1. Traditional barriers – Cost, not enough time, no medical insurance, etc

  2. Low perceived need to seek medical care – believes illness will improve or resolve over time

  3. Concerns – fear of pain, fear of needles, fear of surgery, fear of being hospitalized, etc

All these reasons are linked to lack of awareness or knowledge regarding the medical care that are available.


Treatment Awareness

A huge number of people think surgery is the only way to treat their pain, which is not at all the case for most people. There are plenty of conservative (non-surgical) treatment methods available to cover a wide spectrum of conditions, including arthritic pain, neuropathic pain, sciatica, postoperative pain and more.


Our community is full of fellowship-trained physicians, who take good care of people with pain. Personally, I have seen many patients who come to my office crying in pain and leave the clinic with a smile on their face.


Preventive Measures

Leading a healthy life might appear difficult, but following certain guidelines namely, eating well, exercising, and not smoking can do a lot for you.


  1. Avoid overuse – Stress loading your joints can cause problems such as tendinitis or a stress fracture, that's caused by repetitive trauma

  2. Food habits – Eating healthy is very important. Eat a variety of whole foods with a balanced diet. Prep your meal at home and avoid eating fast foods to avoid overweight and obesity.

  3. Exercise – Make sure you move every day. Exercises strengthen the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding the joints. It can be any form of exercise like aerobics, cardio, yoga, swimming, trekking, brisk walking, etc.

  4. Sleep – Sleep has everything to do with your health. Get uninterrupted sleep of 7-8 hours a day as poor sleep can make your joint pain worse.

  5. Avoid exposure to toxins – Quit or avoid smoking as smoking may increase pain sensitivity in general.

  6. Keep track of your health – Look out for signs and symptoms and consult a doctor if they persist over a week.

Seeking Medical Attention

If the pain persists, then getting it consulted with a primary care physician or orthopedic physician is every important. Talk to your primary care physician about when you experience pain and what makes it severe. They can help by educating you on why you have pain and what you can do to avoid it from progressing further.

Medical Attention | Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

The “ignorance is bliss” approach to your health by avoiding confronting certain issues may potentially worsen your health. Avoiding medical care may result in late detection of disease, reduced survival, and potentially preventable human suffering.


Self-Care

Self-care is often the first choice for people with musculoskeletal pain. Self-care may have positive effects to a certain extent on the successful outcome of a multidisciplinary approach to treatment.

Some of them are:

  1. Rest – adequate amount of rest is important

  2. Ice – cold and heat compression

  3. Elevation

  4. Muscle relaxants

  5. Over-the-counter medications

Conservative Management

The term conservative management describes non-surgical treatments that provide symptomatic relief, modification of the course of the disease, and an approach that allows patients to adjust to the realities and take more control of their condition and pain.


Most of the physicians agree that 90% of patients, who were given conservative forms of treatment responded well to the therapies over a particular span of time. Some of the various forms of conservative management are:

  1. Activity modifications

  2. Topical agents such as ointment, cream, or gel

  3. Physical therapy

  4. Steroid injections

  5. NSAID medications

Conservative measures are very effective, giving the patients a chance of pain-free life without going into the operating room. Some people get well even before they start on NSAID medications.


Definitive Management

Even though we are orthopedic surgeons, we only recommend surgical procedures to patients only when they have severe issues and surgery is the last resort for them. Some people are afraid of surgery because of the fear of postoperative pain and having permanent dysfunction after surgery.


With advanced technologies in medical industry, surgical procedures have improved a lot in the last decade and the procedures are almost pain-free. Even diabetic patients undergo complex surgical procedures with well controlled results. There are many home health and rehabilitation programs that can help you with postoperative pain and recovery period.


Takeaway

Life is too short to live with pain so, take appropriate measures and lead a healthy and pain-free life. I have seen many patients who come to me saying that, if they would have known about these treatment options before, they would have consulted a physician earlier and started living a pain-free life long ago. I hope the above information was helpful to you. I will see you in my next article.


Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.

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