Fighting Psoriatic Arthritis Pain With Nerve Treatments
Never say, "Can it get any worse?"
I started having symptoms of psoriatic arthritis as a child. My symptoms worsened at age 25. I finally received a diagnosis at age 50. As the years go by, the pain seems to get worse.
Today the pain in my hands, neck, and shoulder is killing me. I am using a voice activator to write this.
Understanding nerve treatments
Living with psoriatic arthritis is extremely painful, I don't need to tell you that. Prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines are the way to go for most patients. These drugs can provide relief when used properly but there are risks every time you pop a pill.
I was on a biologic which brought some relief but has been forced to stop taking it for a while. I decided to explore other options including nerve treatments. Arthritis pain travels from the brain to the joints via nerves. Pain can be eased if the nerves are blocked from transmitting the signals.
A tool has three hollow needles that are frozen with the use of liquid nitrous oxide and then inserted near or into the joint. The freezing temperature damages the nerves stopping the pain transmission.
This procedure is done on back and knee joints. Eventually, the pain will gradually come back once the nerves regenerate. The side effects are mild and consist of tenderness and bruising around the injected area.
Intrathecal pain pump
This method involves surgically implanting a tiny battery-operated pump that is loaded with pain relief medication. The pump is programmed to deliver small doses of the drug into the space surrounding the spinal cord. It has fewer body-wide side effects than orally taken drugs.
This method is mostly used for spinal stenosis and compression disorders. Like any other surgery, there are risks involved with this method and they include nerve damage, blocked drug catheter, bleeding, and infections.
This method involves injecting a numbing agent, or an anesthetic with a corticosteroid into a nerve. The steroid reduces inflammation while the anesthetic stops the nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain.
The nerve blocks are mostly used for immediate pain relief that involves back pain that moves down the leg or up the arm. The risks involved include injecting the wrong nerve or loss of feeling in the targeted area.
Electrical nerve stimulation treatments
This electrical method involves sticking electrode patches that are attached to a tiny device that is battery-operated. The device sends an electric current to your nerves which overrides pain signals. This method also relieves pain by making the body release endorphins in the brain.
TENS can be used on the body either in high (I-TENS) or low (h-TENS) frequencies, the devices are equipped with controllers that help the patient choose their most comfortable frequencies. It works for both chronic and acute pain.
Pulsed electrical stimulation
This method delivers an electric current to the painful area by the use of electrodes that are placed on the skin. It rebuilds and repairs joint cartilage caused by arthritis.
PES and TENS are electrical devices that work by sending electrical impulses through your body. It is important to inform the doctor if you have other implanted devices, have a heart problem, or are pregnant.
Of course, it's always important to talk to your doctor about any treatment option that is best for your pain. Have you tried any of these nerve treatments? What has been your experience?
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?