As many as 50 million people in the United States alone suffer from chronic pain on a regular basis. Effective treatment for chronic leg pain can be hard to find, but once you do find it, you can finally seek the relief you deserve. But what kind of treatment options are there?
So…How can a pain specialist for leg pain help you?
What You Need to Know About Leg Pain
Leg pain may occur for a variety of reasons and it may occur in varying degrees of severity. For example, a person may only occasionally feel a dull ache in their leg from time to time which might not interfere too much with their daily life. On the other hand, another person might experience such severe leg pain that it might even be impossible for them to walk.
Chronic pain, in general, is characterized by pain that lasts more than 3 months. It may be constant or it may come and go, but it must be relatively present and consistent to be considered chronic. Many things can cause chronic pain in the legs.
For example, it might have to do with sciatica. There are two large nerves in the pelvis that branch into each leg. These are known as the sciatic nerves and they often become inflamed or pinched in older people.
It may also have to do with spinal stenosis. This is when there is narrowing of the canal that your spinal cord resides in. This can cause pinching of the spinal cord and pain in your legs.
This can cause severe pain and even numbness in the legs and lower back. This is one of the more common causes of leg pain, but it isn’t the only one. Another common culprit has to do with arthritis.
Arthritis can occur in almost any joint in the body, but it most often occurs in the knees and hip joints. When arthritis affects these joints, the joints will become inflamed and painful and that pain could easily spread to the rest of the legs. Besides that, arthritis makes it difficult to move the affected joints because they are so stiff.
In combination with the stiffness, the pain could make it very difficult for a person to even walk without assistance. In some cases, doctors don’t even know what causes chronic leg pain. In some cases, the pain could be a remnant from a past injury or there could be another sort of condition affecting the body such as diabetes.
This is because diabetes can cause a painful condition known as neuropathy which usually affects the extremities. This condition not only causes pain due to a lack of healthy blood flow but it can also cause unpleasant numbness and tingling. Whatever the case, no one should have to live with chronic pain for the rest of their lives.
That’s why it’s important to consider a leg pain specialist near me. But what can a specialist do for this kind of pain? More importantly, what kind of pain treatments are available?
After all, chronic pain is notorious for being very hard to treat. Even so, there are still various options you can consider.
What Are the Treatments for Chronic Leg Pain?
Before a pain specialist can treat your pain, a diagnosis needs to be made. Knowing what is causing your pain, of course, is very important. That way, it will be easier to get to the root of the problem.
As mentioned before, chronic pain can be a tricky thing to treat. Severe cases of pain often don’t respond well to OTC pain medication because they are simply too weak or they don’t affect the body in the proper way. Fortunately, there are many more effective options to choose from whether you have mild, moderate, or even severe leg pain.
Consider steroid injections, for example. Chronic pain is often caused by some sort of inflammation. This is certainly the case with arthritis where the affected joints become so inflamed that it becomes difficult to move them through excessive stiffness, swelling, and pain.
The thing about steroids is that they have very powerful anti-inflammatory powers. Many people with arthritis and other anti-inflammatory conditions often take steroid medications to help them. But what about steroid injections?
Why would you get a steroid injection instead of just taking steroid medication? The reason is that an injection can provide more localized and more potent results. This is not to mention that you will see the results in a shorter period of time.
These injections are usually used for certain joints in the body. For example, if your leg pain is due to sciatica or another similar condition, it might be a good idea to get a lumbar epidural steroid injection. This involves injecting steroids into a space in your spine.
What You Need to Know
This may sound dangerous or risky, but as long as you choose a good pain specialist, the procedure should be perfectly safe. By injecting steroids into this space in the spine, the medication will reduce the inflammation in the area. This is important because when nerves in the spine are inflamed, they will swell and press against the surrounding spinal bones.
This is not only very painful but it can cause numbness and severe pain in the legs. Sometimes it can even affect mobility. By just using steroids to bring down the inflammation, this will help those nerves shrink down to their normal size. As you can imagine, this will also help your leg pain and mobility.
In some cases, steroids may be injected into the knee or hip joints as well.
These steroid injections only need to be performed occasionally. This is because the results tend to last quite a while. Also, this treatment tends to work best when combined with other treatments.
Also, keep in mind that steroid injections may not be the right treatment for your leg pain if your pain is caused by something completely different and that won’t be affected by a steroid injection. In that case, you may need more intensive treatment to get down to the root of your leg pain.
But what other treatment options are available?
Other Treatment Options for Leg Pain
Another type of treatment option to consider is a nerve block. A nerve block is exactly what it sounds like: it blocks the nerves going to your legs. This may sound dangerous and even counterproductive, but it can actually be very effective.
There are different types of nerve blocks out there but they all function to do more or less the same thing. One of the most well-known types of nerve block is known as an epidural and it is usually used for women going into labor. This type of nerve block ensures that a person is numb from the waist down.
Nerve blocks used for chronic pain work in a similar way. They are designed to block pain. They are usually injected into a certain point in the spine.
Depending on where exactly the nerve block is injected, it will numb different nerves in the body and legs. Usually, nerve blocks are administered in the lower lumbar spine since this is often the root of chronic leg pain. Nerve blocks are very effective but again, they are not a permanent treatment.
What to Know
Instead, you will have to go to your pain specialist from time to time to receive this treatment. Other than that, physical therapy is also very important. Physical therapy is a compassionate type of treatment that will allow you to regain some of your mobility and hopefully reduce pain.
When used in combination with other pain treatments, physical therapy has been shown to do a lot of good for those who suffer from chronic leg pain. You can get physical therapy from a licensed physical therapist. This specialist can help you learn certain movements and exercises that will help you reduce inflammation in your body while also improving mobility.
If that doesn’t work, one of the last treatment options involves spinal cord stimulation therapy. This is a far more intensive type of treatment since it does involve surgery, and for that reason, it is usually only reserved for those who have severe leg pain that has not responded to any other type of treatment.
Effective Treatment for Chronic Leg Pain
Effective treatment for chronic leg pain doesn’t have to be impossible to find. There are many different treatment options that you can consider. For example, steroid injections, nerve blocks, and physical therapy are all known to be very effective options.
If you’re interested in treating your leg pain, schedule an appointment with us here. You can visit us at either our San Marcos location or New Braunfels location.