Q&A: Pain Management

By Kathleen M. Prampin, MPT

Your biggest questions about pain management have been answered! Physical therapist Kathleen M. Prampin responds to select Facebook inquiries from Oz viewers. Find out what you can do for your pain.

Q&A: Pain Management

1. Baaba R. on Facebook asked: How can I relieve body pain after a workout?
In order to address whole body pain after a workout, try light cardiovascular activity, like walking, and gentle stretching in order to facilitate recovery. Gently massaging muscles can also provide relief.

2. Cindy D. on Facebook asked: Any pointers on getting sciatica under control? A week on prednisone, lyrica and percocet has done zero to decrease this pain. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
In order to best treat sciatica, it is important to understand what seems to be triggering the symptoms the most (for example, sitting for long periods usually makes it worse, and getting up periodically to stand or walk may make it better). Sciatic symptoms often respond to a course of physical therapy, and the pain often improves within six weeks.

3. Jeanine C. on Facebook asked: How do you handle joint & muscle pain of fibromyalgia without taking narcotic drugs?
Fibromyalgia can be addressed with gentle exercises for strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.  In conjunction with exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy can assist with addressing the emotional challenges that occur with pain.

4. Amanda B. on Facebook asked: How can I control hip pain? I have been dealing with it for 18 years.
It is important to have chronic pain evaluated in order to best determine the source of the pain. Hip pain can originate from the hip joint itself or it could be referred from other areas of the body, such as the low back. In either situation, a properly designed routine of core stability exercises, hip strengthening and hip stretching can be helpful.

5. Crystal P. on Facebook asked: Best pain relief for diabetic neuropathy in hands and feet? I'm taking hydrocodone.
Stress management can be an important part of managing pain related to diabetic neuropathy as increased stress may increase symptoms; consider a regular practice of deep breathing and/or meditation.  Warm water baths can also provide relief for some people, but it is very important to have someone else test the water temperature first to make sure it will not burn you. Visit Diabetes.org.

6. Lisa M. from Facebook asked: What can we do to help ourselves without drugs?
Eating well, participating in regular exercise, and getting enough sleep are key to helping your body stay healthy.  When you experience pain, there are a number of drug-free options to use at home including heat, ice, TENS units, and massage.

7. Wesley J. from Facebook asked: What is the best all- natural way to treat arthritis?
Osteoarthritis may respond well to heat, gentle massage, TENS, and a well- structured exercise program. The overall goal is to decrease your pain so that you can keep the joint(s) moving to maintain strength, endurance, and mobility.

8. Tawny F. from Facebook asked: What are the advantages of regular massage therapy in pain management?
Regular massage therapy helps to increase blood flow to muscles and other tissues, assisting with the removal of pain chemicals and releasing tension in tissues.  Massage also assists with stress relief, which may help with your overall perception of your pain.

9. Carolyn J.from Facebook asked: Treatment options for meniscus tear in the knee.  Pain management is ineffective.  Bone spurs keep forming. I have had laser surgery to clean it up. Help!!!
If knee pain is limiting your activity level, it can be very helpful to strengthen the hip muscles to assist with overall lower leg control.  Cardiovascular activity in the pool, including water aerobics and water walking, can assist with strength and endurance without as much stress to the knee.

10. Brandy T. from Twitter asked: What can you do to relieve the pain of lower back muscle spasms?
Lower back muscle spasm may respond well to brief rest, heat, massage, and/or TENS.  Thorough evaluation by a physical therapist is appropriate in order to create a customized program of exercise and manual therapy to assist with management of lower back spasm.

11. Merehan A. from Twitter asked: I always get this pain in the back of my neck when I wake up in the morning... How can I reduce this pain?
Consider which position you sleep in and the support of your pillows.  Stomach sleeping can create neck pain; consider sleeping on your side or your back.  Make sure that you are using a supportive pillow so that your head can stay neutral whether you are lying on your back or your side.

Want to know how to look marvelous without splurging so much? Dr. Oz invites three beauty experts to share the smartest ways to save money while looking fabulous starting from your hair and makeup tools to the beauty products you use.