by Dr. Vladimir Alhov, MD
Chronic pain is one of the most common problems in the medical practice. Pain affects more people in the U.S. than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. More than 50 million people in the USA suffer from chronic pain conditions. The cause of pain could be attributed to injury, poor posture, weakness in muscles, family congenital conditions, psychological dis-balance, a pinched nerve, inflammation in the gut, a chronic infection, or a multitude of other reasons. The emotional response to pain may also be one of the important factors that contribute to pain levels.
The different etiologies of pain require different approaches for treatment. This is a very important fact which is often ignored. The standard Western treatment plan for chronic pain is similar for all different causes of pain. In conventional Western medicine, very little attention is paid to the etiology of pain and the emotional component of chronic pain. The patient is typically given anti-inflammatory or opiate medication, physical therapy, or injections. If these treatment see no results, then the patient may have to undergo surgery. If the surgery doesn’t help, the patient is advised to just learn how to live with their pain. Very often, the people in these hypothetical scenarios end up in a pain clinic and take large quantities of pain medication.
The treatment approach in our clinic is based on treating the whole body. It is normally very difficult to find the root of chronic pain. When we treat the whole body, the cause of the chronic disease will usually go away, along with the pain itself. The treatment plan is unique to the individual in our clinic and is determined by physical examinations, laboratory findings, and imaging study.
Lifestyle modification is the first, and one of the most important, steps on the road to a healthy, pain-free life. A healthy lifestyle includes getting proper nutrition and exercise, the introduction of foods that possess anti-inflammatory qualities, and eliminating foods that produce low-grade inflammation to our body. It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root of many illnesses, including chronic pain, heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, and memory decline. There is a special test which shows which foods are not good for the patient. Diet and exercise are an important foundation for treatment and in helping prevent any future relapses of pain. At the same time, we correct nutritional imbalance with minerals, vitamins, hormones, supplements, and amino acids.
Inflammation could be caused by a chronic slow-flowing infection, which is typically very difficult to find through laboratory analysis and, as a result, is very difficult to treat. In this case, we use a new method of treatment that improves the function of the immune system. This strong immunitet helps to fight any chronic infection and, as result, helps with chronic pain.
As soon as the immune system improves, the patient typically feels complete or partial pain relief. Some patients, however, may need to continue therapy with osteopathic manipulation, exercise, intramuscular, oxydative therapies, intravenous injection, or acupuncture. Another part of treating chronic pain is addressing the psychological stress that may be impacting the patient.
Our clinic is different from many others. We practice personalized medicine. Each patient has an individual treatment plan and we have many modalities that are made available under one roof, including: acupuncture; manual therapy; intrajoint, intramuscular and intravenous injections; prolotherapy; and oral vitamin and mineral supplementation. We believe that every person is unique and everyone deserves an individualized plan for their optimal health.
Vladimir Alhov, MD