Common questions about chronic pain and PENS

  • Feb 28 2017

Living with pain is a way of life for many people. Some have an unpleasant sense of discomfort that persists or has progressed over a long period of time. Others experience pain that has lasted more than a few months and is nearly impossible self regulate. If you’re one of those people that feel you will never have a full and active life again because of chronic pain, we have good news! Thanks to open conversation and news coverage, chronic pain awareness as a health threat is on the rise, and we are committed to treating our Pasadena patients who suffer from it.

Despite the new dialogue about the condition, it often comes with questions. Here are three things our patients tend to ask us about chronic pain.

Does chronic pain affect all genders equally?

No. According to the American Chronic Pain Association, 61 percent of all chronic pain sufferers are female. Unfortunately, research shows that some doctors don’t take reports of pain female seriously, sometimes citing mental health and exaggeration as a “cause.” In a recent article in Fitness Magazine, Roger B. Fillingim, PhD, an associate professor of community dentistry and behavioral sciences at the University Of Florida College Of Dentistry, expanded on that thinking: “Some physicians have the impression that because women go through childbirth they can tolerate more.” You won’t find that attitude in our clinic, however. We provide healthcare with understanding and compassion, and we recognize the serious ways that chronic pain can get in the way of life.

Can ignoring chronic pain lead to larger health problems?

Absolutely. Living with constant pain is not just stressful and uncomfortable. It can also lead to serious health issues, including brain shrinkage and memory loss, and can cause challenges in mobility, concentration, and productivity. Research indicates that these problems can develop quickly, so it is important for you to seek treatment sooner rather than later.

Is surgery the only treatment available?

Surgery might be best for some, but is not the right option (or even possible) for everyone. If you are not a good candidate for surgery, take comfort in the fact that there are other treatments to consider. When you make an appointment with us, we can discuss where the pain is, when it started, what it feels like, and how intense it is. The more details you can provide, the better understanding we will have of the severity of the pain and the best ways to target it.

In recent years, there have been some exciting advances in alternative treatments, particularly with PENS. PENS (or percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is similar to electroacupuncture and has been very successful in treating everything from arthritis and joint pain to cancer pain and cervical and lumbar pain. By providing continuous low-level pulses to the problem area, PENS can be helpful after as few as four treatments and can even reduce the amount of pain medications that patients take by half.

If you are ready to take an active role in regaining control of your chronic pain, contact one of our healthcare professionals at Dedicated to Health for your free consultation. Let us help you enjoy life again.

Posted in: Chronic Pain