It can be quite common for people (adults, especially) to experience pain in their low back, neck, shoulders, joints and limbs — it’s no rare thing to find elderly individuals experiencing all kinds of pain that limit their mobility, or athletes that suffer injuries in parts of their body that are constantly taxed while they play their sport, or even countless office workers who can’t seem to shake off nagging pains from assuming a seated position at their desk all day long. At some point, regardless of his level of health, physical fitness or observance of pain prevention methods, an adult will experience pain, whether mild or severe, and this can be addressed using a variety of methods.
There are instances, however, when it will take more than the ingestion of painkillers, the application of cold or hot compresses, or resting the affected body part to fully eliminate the pain you are experiencing. For more serious conditions that involve the nerves and muscles, the recommended step to take is to visit a center that brings together the expertise of medical doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors who can thoroughly examine your condition and prescribe an integrated treatment and recovery plan drawing from various disciplines.
Here are two examples of tests or treatments that such pain centers can recommend:
Nerve Conduction Velocity Testing
Nerve conduction velocity testing is a procedure designed to detect whether you have experienced injury or damage to your nerves. Performed in combination with electromyography, it is prescribed if you report feeling numbness, tingling or burning — these are possible indicators of nerve damage.
How does it work?
Adhesive patches containing electrodes are attached to your skin; one of the electrodes emits a mild electrical impulse meant to stimulate a nerve, while the other electrodes measure the electrical impulse — the distance between the electrodes and the time it takes for the impulse to travel between them must be determined.
How will the test determine if there are damaged nerves? Healthy nerves send signals faster, so your pain specialist can discover the current nerve function based on the speed of the electrical impulse.
Nerve conduction velocity testing can help determine whether there is nerve damage, inflammation, or abnormal electrical muscular activity causing the pain, and recommend the appropriate treatment plan.
Trigger Point Injections
Some pains are caused by trigger points. These are painful areas under the skin created by “knots” of muscles formed when the muscles cannot relax. These trigger points may involuntarily jump or twitch when they are touched.
Trigger points can be either active (painful even when the body is at rest) or latent (not spontaneously painful, but can cause weakness in muscles and restricted movements). Active trigger points cause only tenderness at their point of origin; the actual pain, however, is felt in another area of the body, and is typically described as a spreading or radiating pain.
How is trigger point pain treated?
A pain specialist can recommend stretching, physical therapy or ultrasound to treat this, but if these methods fail, trigger point injections can be the next step. A local anesthetic is injected into the trigger point, and while you may initially experience soreness or bruising in the affected area for a few days, pain relief is typically experienced shortly after.