Where Can I Turn for Pain Relief?

How to navigate pain relief, naturally

Composed from publicly available information April 08, 2024 No Comments

Navigating Pain Relief: A Guide to Different Healthcare Facilities and The Services They Offer

So, you’re in pain. Maybe it’s a new condition and you’re just figuring out how to navigate it. Maybe it’s chronic and you’re finally so fed up you’re willing to get help. Where do you go? Who can you trust? What options will get you the best outcomes? Well, there are plenty of people who dedicate their careers to helping people manage pain. Here is a list of those places and what they might do to help you find relief. One or more of these may be right for you.

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Primary Care Physicians (PCPs)

Regardless of where you end up, this is most likely where you should start. PCPs can assess the nature of the pain, provide initial treatments, and make referrals to specialists if necessary. Here are some of the things a PCP might do to get you on the journey of pain relief:

  • Gathering your Health History
  • Performing a Physical Exam
  • Qualifying and Quantifying Your Pain by rating it on a pain scale like the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI)
  • Performing Diagnostic Imaging like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to discover if structural issues might be causing the pain
  • Performing Lab Tests to identify if you have inflammation, infections, or autoimmune disorders
  • Offering Medication like over-the-counter analgesics (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen) or prescription medications (such as opioids, muscle relaxants, or nerve pain medications)
  • Providing Specialist Referrals o orthopedic doctors, neurologists, rheumatologists, or pain management specialists for more specialized care or interventions.
  • Suggesting Physical Therapy to address musculoskeletal pain.Connecting you with Counseling and Mental Health Support to design strategies to manage stress, anxiety, or depression that may contribute to or result from pain.
  • Suggesting Lifestyle Modifications including exercise, weight management, and ergonomic adjustments, to improve overall health and alleviate certain types of pain.
  • Making you Aware of Education and Self-Management to take charge of your own pain relief journey. This could include things like learning proper posture, stress reduction, and home exercises.

Pain Management Clinics

Specialized pain management clinics focus exclusively on diagnosing and treating chronic pain conditions. These clinics offer a comprehensive approach to pain relief, utilizing medications, physical therapy, and interventional procedures tailored to each patient's needs. Here are some of the things you might experience at a pain management clinic:

  • A Comprehensive Evaluation
  • Advanced Imaging Studies like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs
  • Diagnostic Procedures such as nerve blocks, joint injections, or epidural injections
  • Medication Management including analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and opioids
  • Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Rehabilitation
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help patients manage and cope with the emotional and psychological aspects of chronic pain
  • Acupuncture and Massage Therapy or Chiropractic Care
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) - a procedure where electrodes are implanted to modulate pain signals.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation where radiofrequency energy is used to temporarily disrupt nerve conduction, providing relief for certain types of pain, especially related to joints and nerves.
  • Biofeedback Techniques help patients gain awareness and control over physiological functions, potentially reducing pain symptoms.
  • Introduction to Pain Education and Support Groups
  • Introduction to a Multidisciplinary Approach involving a team of healthcare professionals such as pain physicians, physical therapists, psychologists, and nurses to address various aspects of pain.

Orthopedic Clinics

Orthopedic specialists are experts in musculoskeletal conditions, making them instrumental in treating pain related to joints, bones, and soft tissues. They address issues such as arthritis, fractures, and sports injuries. This is what you might experience at an orthopedic clinic:

  • Medical History Evaluation and Physical Examinations
  • Diagnostic Imaging like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs
  • Electrodiagnostic Testing like Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies may be employed to assess nerve function and identify conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or radiculopathy
  • Arthroscopy which involves inserting a small camera through a tiny incision to directly visualize and treat joint issues, such as repairing torn cartilage or removing inflamed tissue.
  • Orthopedic Surgery including joint replacements, arthroplasty, ligament repairs, or spinal surgeries
  • Medication Management with pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or muscle relaxants
  • Physical Therapy to improve strength, flexibility, and overall function
  • Bracing and Orthotics to support and stabilize affected joints
  • Injection Therapies like joint injections, corticosteroid injections, or viscosupplementation may be used to reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief for conditions like osteoarthritis
  • Regenerative Medicine like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy or stem cell injections
  • Lifestyle Modification Education like weight management, ergonomic adjustments, and modifications to daily activities

Neurology Clinics

Neurologists specialize in disorders of the nervous system, including those causing pain. They play a key role in diagnosing and managing neurological pain conditions, such as migraines, neuropathy, and nerve compression syndromes. If you visit a neurology clinic, here are some of the things you might experience:

  • Providing a Patient History and Undergoing a Neurological Examination to assess symptoms, reflexes, and sensory responses related to pain.
  • Diagnostic Imaging like MRI and CT scans to visualize the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, helping identify structural abnormalities or lesions
  • Electrodiagnostic Testing like Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies to assess nerve function and identify conditions such as neuropathy or radiculopathy
  • Laboratory Tests to identify autoimmune disorders or infections affecting the nervous system
  • Medication Management to manage neurological pain, including analgesics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants
  • Botulinum Toxin Injections (Botox) for certain neurological conditions such as migraines, dystonia, or spasticity
  • Nerve Blocks and Epidural Injections to provide targeted relief for pain associated with nerve compression or inflammation
  • Neurostimulation like spinal cord stimulation or peripheral nerve stimulation which involves implanting devices that deliver electrical impulses to modulate pain signals
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical Therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help patients manage the psychological and emotional aspects of chronic pain
  • Referral to Headache and Migraine Clinics within neurology clinics to receive targeted treatments and lifestyle modifications

Rheumatology Clinics

Rheumatologists focus on autoimmune and inflammatory conditions affecting the joints and soft tissues. Individuals with rheumatic disorders often seek their expertise for pain management and treatment. Here is a list of things you might experience at a rheumatology clinic:

  • Providing a Patient History and Experiencing a Physical Examination
  • Lab Tests like blood tests, including tests for inflammatory markers and autoantibodies, are crucial for diagnosing rheumatic conditions and monitoring disease activity
  • Imaging Studies like X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasound may be used to visualize joints and soft tissues, helping identify signs of inflammation, damage, or other structural issues contributing to pain
  • Medication Management to manage inflammation including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), corticosteroids, and biologics
  • Joint Injections with corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid to provide targeted relief for localized pain and inflammation in specific joints
  • Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy
  • Lifestyle Modifications like exercise, weight management, and joint protection techniques, to improve overall well-being
  • Biomechanical Assessments may be conducted to understand how joint movement and alignment contribute to pain and to recommend appropriate interventions
  • Patient Education focuses on information about the specific rheumatic condition, treatment options, and self-care strategies for pain management

Physical Therapy Centers

Physical therapists are essential in pain management, providing exercises, stretches, and manual therapies to improve mobility and reduce pain. They collaborate with patients to enhance strength and flexibility. Here is a list of some specific activities you may experience at a physical therapy center:

  • Exercise Programs to strengthen, stretch, and improve joint flexibility
  • Manual Therapy which includes hands-on techniques like joint mobilization, massage, and soft tissue manipulation used to reduce muscle tension, improve circulation, and enhance mobility
  • Heat and Cold Therapies like hot packs or warm towels help relax muscles and increase blood flow. Cold therapies, such as ice packs, can reduce inflammation and numb pain in specific areas
  • Electrotherapy like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) may alleviate pain and promote muscle relaxation.
  • Ultrasound Therapy generates sound waves that penetrate deep into tissues, promoting healing, reducing inflammation, and relieving pain
  • Use of Therapeutic Exercise Equipment like resistance bands, stability balls, and other tools to enhance therapeutic exercises and rehabilitation
  • Participation in Balance and Proprioception Training that focuses on improve stability, reducing the risk of falls, and managing pain associated with certain musculoskeletal conditions
  • Participation in Gait and Mobility Training techniques to improve walking patterns and mobility
  • Participation in Aquatic Therapy
  • Use of Biofeedback tools that can be used to help patients gain awareness and control over physiological functions, aiding in pain management
  • Patient Education on posture, body mechanics, and lifestyle modifications to empower patients in managing their pain and preventing further issues
  • Use of Orthotic Devices and Assistive Equipment like braces, or assistive equipment
  • Functional Rehabilitation focuses on activities of daily living, helping individuals regain independence and reduce pain associated with routine tasks
  • Participation in Progressive Resistance Training to improve muscle function and joint stability

Chiropractic Clinics

Chiropractors specialize in manual adjustments and manipulations to address pain, particularly related to the spine and musculoskeletal system. They focus on improving alignment and function. The following is a list of tools and procedures you might experience at a chiropractor’s office

  • Chiropractic Adjustments (Spinal Manipulation)

    Chiropractors use their hands or specialized adjusting instruments to apply controlled force to specific joints, aiming to restore normal joint mobility, reduce pain, and improve function.

  • Activator Adjusting Instrument:

    This handheld instrument is designed to deliver a controlled and precise force to specific areas of the spine or joints, providing a gentler alternative to manual adjustments.

  • Drop-Table Technique:

    Chiropractors may use specialized tables with sections that drop slightly during an adjustment, allowing for a lighter force while maintaining the effectiveness of the adjustment.

  • Flexion-Distraction Technique:

    This technique involves a specialized table that gently stretches and decompresses the spine, particularly effective for conditions like disc herniations or spinal stenosis.

  • Soft Tissue Manipulation:

    Chiropractors may employ manual techniques to address soft tissue issues, such as massage, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy, to reduce muscle tension and improve flexibility.

  • Therapeutic Exercise and Stretching:

    Chiropractors prescribe specific exercises and stretches to strengthen supporting muscles, enhance flexibility, and promote overall musculoskeletal health.

  • Ultrasound Therapy:

    Ultrasound devices may be used to deliver deep heat to targeted tissues, promoting blood flow, reducing inflammation, and relieving pain.

  • Electrical Stimulation (E-stim):

    Electrical currents applied through electrodes on the skin can help reduce pain, muscle spasms, and inflammation.

  • Heat and Cold Therapies:

    Chiropractors may recommend the application of heat or cold to affected areas to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve blood circulation.

  • Laser Therapy:

    Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) may be used to stimulate healing and reduce inflammation in soft tissues.

  • Traction Devices:

    Traction devices may be employed to stretch and decompress the spine, relieving pressure on nerves and reducing pain associated with conditions like herniated discs.

  • Orthopedic Pillows and Supports:

    Chiropractors may recommend orthopedic pillows or supports to help patients maintain proper spinal alignment during sleep or daily activities.

  • Nutritional Counseling:

    Chiropractors may offer nutritional guidance to support overall health and reduce inflammation, recognizing the role of diet in musculoskeletal well-being.

  • Lifestyle Modification Advice:

    Chiropractors advise on ergonomic adjustments, posture correction, and lifestyle modifications to prevent recurring pain and promote optimal musculoskeletal health.


Hospitals house a variety of specialists, including anesthesiologists, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals who collaborate to manage acute and chronic pain. They provide a range of services from pain medications to surgical interventions. Here is a list of those services.

  • Medication Delivery
    • Analgesics (pain relievers) such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and opioids for moderate to severe pain.
    • Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps that allow patients to self-administer prescribed doses of pain medication.
    • Epidural Analgesia like epidural catheters which are often used for pain relief after surgeries, childbirth, or in cases of severe pain. They deliver local anesthetics or opioids directly to the epidural space.
    • Regional Anesthesia like nerve blocks and other regional anesthesia techniques that are employed to numb specific areas of the body, providing targeted pain relief.
    • Intravenous (IV) Infusions of opioids or non-opioid analgesics, may be used for continuous pain management.
  • Surgical Interventions like joint replacement surgeries or decompressive procedures
  • Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy
  • Acupuncture - Some hospitals offer acupuncture as a complementary therapy for pain management, particularly in cases of chronic pain.
  • Massage Therapy - Massage therapists may be part of the healthcare team, providing manual therapy to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.
  • Music and Art Therapy - Creative arts therapies, including music and art therapy, may be utilized to help patients cope with pain and improve their emotional well-being.
  • Integrative Medicine like mindfulness, meditation, or yoga

Often, pain relief can’t be found in just one location or with just one provider. Sometimes a collaborative effort is needed. When you understand the roles of these sources of pain relief services, you are more likely to find a positive outcome on your pain relief journey.

Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.


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