The treatments for chronic pain are as varied as the causes. From over-the-counter and prescription drugs to acupuncture or injections, there are a lot of approaches. Below we discuss six options for treatment.

Ice/Heat/Epsom Salt

Ice is a valuable tool in temporarily reducing pain, and it also reduces swelling after an acute injury. Cold compresses can provide temporary relief for the first 72 hours.

Heat Therapy should only be applied after the acute inflammatory response has subsided. On no occasion should you use heat therapy within the first 72 hours of an acute injury (especially for tissue damage and swelling). At later stages of the healing process, heat and ice contrast treatment can be of benefit.

Epsom salts have a high concentration of magnesium, which aids in reducing muscle cramps, easing joint pain, and increasing circulatory function. Epsom salt baths are another form of Heat Therapy, therefore should not be used in the first 72 hours of an injury.

Stretching and Exercise

Multiple research studies have shown that stretching and regular exercise can diminish pain in the long term by refining muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. Exercise can also produce a release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

Over the Counter or Prescription

Milder forms of pain may be relieved by over-the-counter medications including Tylenol (acetaminophen) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) comprising aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Acetaminophen and NSAIDs relieve pain initiated by muscle aches and stiffness, and NSAIDs decrease inflammation. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medications.

If over-the-counter drugs prove ineffective, your physician may prescribe stronger medications, such as muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drugs (including diazepam [Valium]), antidepressants (like duloxetine [Cymbalta] for musculoskeletal pain), NSAIDs such as celecoxib (Celebrex), or a short course of stronger painkillers like codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, Percocet or Vicodin. Many of these stronger painkillers can be addictive when taken too long and some increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke.


Acupuncture is a centuries-old healing practice of traditional Chinese medicine. Thin needles are placed at specific points in the body to release the flow of the body’s vital energy or “chi” by stimulating points along 14 energy pathways.


At times, a group of nerves that cause pain to a specific organ or body region can be blocked with local medication. The injection of this nerve-deadening substance is called a nerve block. Often nerve blocks are not possible as they are too dangerous or are not an effective treatment for the problem.

Occasionally trigger point injections are employed to treat muscle pain in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck. A healthcare professional using a small needle injects a local anesthetic that sometimes includes a steroid into what is believed to be the pain trigger point. Other forms of injection therapy include prolo therapy, PRP, and stem cell injections.

Physical Therapy or Rolfing

Physical therapy sessions (PT) are usually the first option for treatment by many patients recovering from an injury, especially if someone is going through their healthcare provider. You can make great progress with PT sessions in improving mobility, recovering from or preventing sports injuries, and managing age-related issues, but after about 6-12 appointments, you are usually on your own.

Rolfing or Structural integration uses a combination of myofascial release and hands-on bone and joint manipulation. It is a holistic system of bodywork that uses deep manipulation of the body’s soft tissue and movement education to realign and balance the body’s myofascial structure with the field of gravity. A study at UCLA had experimental subjects receive 10 sessions twice weekly for five weeks in alternating sessions by two certified Rolfers. Researchers found that the subjects had made a consistent major improvement in the efficiency of motor performance through the improved organization and balance of the neuromuscular system.

Chronic pain and age related conditions are persistent and require regular care and treatment. While treatments of ice, health, Epsom salt, drugs, acupuncture, injections, and physical therapy may address the symptoms effectively in the short-term, none may provide you permanent relief from chronic pain. Regular stretching, exercise, functional training, and Rolfing provide the best chance for a long-term solution.

To learn more about which Rolfing therapy will provide an effective solution for your chronic pain issue visit: call for a consultation.

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