Smalling takes out an analgesic back patch, splits it into pieces for each shoulder, and goes to sleep. This quick-fix over-the-counter pain relief solution has had value for her in the short term, allowing her to continue her career as a men’s hairstylist.
“It’s kind of like a Band-Aid, I guess,” the 59-year-old Dallas resident told Weintraub, “but it works.” In other words, it may not be the road to long-term recovery, but it does supply immediate back pain relief.
Smalling believes the lidocaine patches are essentially positive because they provide support for the pain medication she takes orally, allowing her to postpone the possibility of a narcotic prescription.
Notably, she is using prescription rather than over-the-counter pain relief patches, but the concept is the same: like pills, it’s a delivery device for pain-relief medication.
Weintraub notes that topical treatments are used around the world to treat pain:
- China – half of people use topical treatments
- Europe – one quarter use topical treatments
- USA – 12% use topical treatments.
However, that’s crossing wires: many of the topical treatments that are in use in diverse cultures are not medication patches but are instead natural remedies.
Medication itself is problematic
The list of side-effects for pain medication is long, as detailed by WebMD. Acetaminophen can cause nausea, rash, and liver damage. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause or contribute to nausea, stomach ulcers, kidney issues, and major cardiovascular events.
Many patients want to avoid medication and get back pain relief in some other way. These individuals understand that pain is a reaction to a dysfunction within our body. They often seek the care of multidisciplinary pain management clinics. This emerging niche in medical care specializes in creating comprehensive treatment plans to identify and treat the source of the pain.
Why multidisciplinary treatment
A 2008 review published in the journal Rheumatology looked at the effectiveness of multidisciplinary healthcare, an approach that creates its back pain relief programs by integrating the expertise and techniques of various healthcare disciplines.
The report looks at previously conducted randomized controlled trials that evaluated multidisciplinary medicine versus traditional medicine. The results are extraordinarily compelling: “In contrasting no treatment or standard medical treatment, strong evidence was detected in favor of multidisciplinary treatments.” The researchers also commented that sufferers of fibromyalgia and chronic back pain were especially likely to experience improvement in a multidisciplinary setting.
When over-the-counter pain relief is not enough
Stop your pain with our fully customized multidisciplinary program. Keep in mind that if you mask the pain with a back patch or pain reliever the root cause is still there and your pain will return. Long-term pain relief is possible with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Today, you can get a free consultation, including a complimentary hydromassage and X-rays.