(Health Secrets) Millions of people live with chronic and sometimes debilitating pain while their doctors struggle to understand why. If you’re using drugs to manage your chronic pain, you may find safer and more permanent relief through the use of telemedicine.
Common Types of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can come in many forms and develop for a wide variety of reasons. Back pain, headaches, degenerative conditions, and autoimmune disease are the most common types of chronic pain.
Let’s look at these conditions in a bit more detail:
- Back Pain
Chronic lower back pain is often caused by herniated disc, sciatica, misaligned vertebrae, strain, and arthritis. Back pain alone accounts for 186 million lost work days each year.
Headaches are another common cause of chronic pain. So many people suffer from debilitating headaches each day, that there is now a name for the condition. It’s called chronic daily headache syndrome. Chronic headaches can be caused by herniated disc, tension, medication overuse, COPD (due to lack of oxygen), chronic dehydration, pinched nerve, and depression.
- Autoimmune Conditions
Autoimmune disease is characterized by the immune system mistaking your healthy tissues for foreign invading bodies and destroying them. Chronic joint pain, fatigue, and depression occurring together are tell-tale signs of autoimmune disease. Psoriasis, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type II diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and lupus are just a few of the common autoimmune disease plaguing 21st century patients.
Why Chronic Pain Sufferers are Choosing Telemedicine
1. A Fresh Start Through Anonymity
One of the hardest parts about living with chronic pain isn’t always the chronic pain; it’s the lack of belief and understanding by available medical professionals.
Many chronic pain sufferers end up with a reputation for doctor hopping. That is, going from doctor to doctor for the express purposes of obtaining more medication.
While addiction to pain medication is a problem for some, not every chronic pain sufferer is an addict. Many are simply trying to find the cause of their condition with doctors that are too quick to prescribe yet another symptom-relieving drug.
With telemedicine, chronic pain sufferers can start over with a new doctor and a new approached that goes beyond masking symptoms with drugs.
In my own practice of telemedicine, I’ve found many new patients grateful to have a doctor who genuinely listened and didn’t go into the consult with preconceived ideas.
2. Improved Follow-Up
Patients living with chronic pain often have decreased mobility and a difficult time taking more time off from work for yet another doctor visit. With telemedicine, following up with the doctor overseeing your care is easy. You simply log on or pick up your telephone and you’re on with your doctor!
Patients who use telemedicine for chronic pain are also more likely to follow up with their doctor because they believe they are really being heard. With online or telephone care, there’s no need to sit in a cold waiting room for 45 minutes in nothing but a hospital gown. The time you take away from your day is all spent with your doctor, advancing your care.
3. Decreased Cost of Care
Chronic pain conditions can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars over time in visits, testing, procedures, and drugs. This can place an incredible financial hardship for those with anything less than the best medical insurance. Telemedicine is ideal for those with low or no insurance as it offers set prices you can afford. Visiting with an online doctor also means saving gas as well as wear and tear on your vehicle.
4. Convenience of Consult
If you live in a rural area, chances are, you have access to only one or two doctors. If you have an autoimmune or chronic pain condition, you can exhaust your medical options quickly. Also, in rural areas, you might have to travel 20 or 30 miles to see a specialist. With telemedicine, you only have to log on at your scheduled time and you can receive the care you need in the privacy of your own home.
5. Access to New Treatment Modalities
One of the most convenient factors of telemedicine is access to new treatment modalities.
For example, if the conventional medical model of drugs and surgery has not been working for you, you can turn to alternative therapies provided by nutritional consultation, naturopathic medicine, and the osteopathic approach.
As an osteopath, my consultations offer the same benefits as my MD colleagues, but with a person-centered approach the focuses is primarily on preventative medicine as well as dietary and lifestyle changes.
A Note About Online Doctor Fraud
If you’re thinking of locating a physician for a telemedicine consultation, be sure to do a bit of research beforehand. Though most online doctors are reputable, there is still the chance of running into someone running some type of scam or fraudulent operation. Be sure to do reviews on the doctor you’re thinking of consulting with before doing any business.
Telemedicine levels the playing field for frustrated patients living with chronic pain. If you’re living with chronic pain and you’re not getting anywhere with the treatment you’ve got, an online consultation could be just what the doctor ordered!
Disclaimer: Dr. Maxwell’s telemedicine consultations include customized supplement recommendations, nutrition, and lifestyle changes. No medications are prescribed.
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