managing chronic pain

Managing Chronic Pain: Conservative Treatments vs. Surgical Intervention

Chronic pain, a reality for millions worldwide, can significantly impair quality of life. Managing chronic pain effectively requires a multifaceted approach that considers both conservative treatments and surgical intervention. This article will compare these options to provide you with a comprehensive understanding.

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is long-term discomfort that persists for more than 12 weeks, despite medication or treatment. It can be constant or intermittent and range from mild to severe. Chronic pain can be caused by various conditions, including arthritis, nerve damage, fibromyalgia, and more. Here is a link to an in-depth guide on chronic pain.

Conservative Treatments

The first line of defense in managing chronic pain often involves conservative, non-invasive treatments. Let’s examine the most common ones:

  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can develop a personalized exercise regimen to increase function, decrease pain, and prevent future injury.
  • Pharmacological Treatments: Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, topical creams, and prescribed medications can help alleviate pain. However, it’s crucial to use them judiciously due to potential side effects.
  • Psychological Therapies: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help patients manage the psychological aspects of chronic pain, reducing the impact on their daily life.
  • Alternative Therapies: Treatments like acupuncture, massage, and mindfulness techniques may provide pain relief for some individuals.
  • Medical Marijuana: Prescribed, legal Cannabis is available to those with chronic pain in the state of Ohio. It has been scientifically proven to reduce the severity and impact of chronic pain. For more information, please head over to our medical marijuana page.

Detailed information on these treatments is available here.

Surgical Intervention

In some cases, when conservative treatments have not provided enough relief, surgical intervention may be considered. Here are the most common types of surgical procedures for managing chronic pain:

  • Nerve Blocks: These procedures involve injecting a numbing agent or surgical disruption to block a group of nerves from sending pain signals.
  • Spinal Cord Stimulators (SCS): SCS implants deliver low-level electrical signals to the spinal cord or specific nerves to block pain signals from reaching the brain.
  • Intrathecal Pump Implants: These devices deliver pain medication directly to the space around the spinal cord.

More detailed information on surgical interventions can be found here.

Conservative Treatments vs. Surgical Intervention: Making the Choice

Choosing between conservative treatments and surgical intervention for managing chronic pain depends on several factors.

  • Severity and Nature of Pain: Conservative treatments are often the first choice for mild to moderate pain. However, severe pain or pain that impairs function may necessitate surgical intervention.
  • Response to Conservative Treatments: If conservative treatments provide adequate relief, surgical intervention is usually not considered.
  • Patient Preference: Some patients may prefer to avoid surgery, while others may want quicker relief that surgery can sometimes offer.
  • Medical History: A patient’s medical history, including their overall health and response to previous treatments, can influence the decision.


In managing chronic pain, conservative treatments and surgical interventions each have their place. An individual’s unique circumstances will ultimately determine the best approach. It’s crucial to maintain an open dialogue with healthcare professionals, who can provide personalized advice based on your specific condition and needs.

Remember, effective management of chronic pain often involves a combination of treatments. What works best for one person may not work for another. Continue to explore different options and stay proactive in your journey towards pain relief.

Living with chronic pain is a challenging and often daunting task, but there are a wide range of treatments available. From conservative treatments such as physical therapy and medications to more invasive surgical interventions, the best treatment plan is one that’s personalized to your specific needs and circumstances.

Always ensure that you have thorough discussions with your healthcare provider when considering different approaches for managing chronic pain. Your healthcare team can provide you with the latest research, discuss potential benefits and risks, and guide you in making informed decisions about your treatment.

As with all health concerns, early intervention can lead to better outcomes.

If you are suffering from chronic pain, seek help immediately. Pain management is a rapidly evolving field, and new treatments and approaches are being developed regularly. Stay informed, stay hopeful, and remember, you are not alone in your journey towards pain relief.