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What can I do about chronic pain when I can't go to my doctor's office?

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Picture it: You're in major pain, but you can’t go see your doctor. Maybe it’s a holiday weekend. Maybe you’re trapped at home because of COVID-19.

You don’t have to suffer. There are plenty of ways to treat your pain when you can’t get to a doctor’s office:

And in an emergency, you can almost always get in-person care.

  • You can have a telemedicine visit with your doctor.
  • You can do physical therapy exercises at home, or have a virtual PT session with your therapist.
  • Try capsaicin cream or use heat therapy to manage your pain.
  • Make sure you're getting enough sleep. When you're tired, pain can feel worse.
  • Do gentle exercise.
  • Get support from your friends and loved ones.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Using Telehealth to Care for Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Cleveland Clinic: “A Pain Management Physician on Adapting Practices During the Pandemic.”

American Physical Therapy Association: “Telehealth Modalities That PTs and PTAs Can Use During the Public Health Emergency.”

Rheumatologia Clinica : “Topical capsaicin for pain in osteoarthritis.”

Pain Research and Management: Effects of Physical-Agent Pain Relief Modalities for Fibromyalgia Patients,” “Chronic Pain in the Emergency Department.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sleep.”

Sleep Foundation: “Healthy Sleep Tips.”

Journal of Pain : “The Social Regulation of Pain.”

Clinical Journal of Pain: “Social Support and Pain Outcomes After Trauma Exposure Among Older Adults.”

Aging & Mental Health: “ Social Support and Cognitive Functioning as Resources for Elderly Persons with Chronic Arthritis Pain.”

National Center for Health Statistics: “Reasons for Emergency Room Use Among U.S. Adults

Aged 18–64: National Health Interview Survey, 2013 and 2014.”

Medscape: "Are Warnings Against NSAIDS in COVID-19 Warranted?"

Mayo Clinic: "Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on April 27, 2020

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Using Telehealth to Care for Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Cleveland Clinic: “A Pain Management Physician on Adapting Practices During the Pandemic.”

American Physical Therapy Association: “Telehealth Modalities That PTs and PTAs Can Use During the Public Health Emergency.”

Rheumatologia Clinica : “Topical capsaicin for pain in osteoarthritis.”

Pain Research and Management: Effects of Physical-Agent Pain Relief Modalities for Fibromyalgia Patients,” “Chronic Pain in the Emergency Department.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sleep.”

Sleep Foundation: “Healthy Sleep Tips.”

Journal of Pain : “The Social Regulation of Pain.”

Clinical Journal of Pain: “Social Support and Pain Outcomes After Trauma Exposure Among Older Adults.”

Aging & Mental Health: “ Social Support and Cognitive Functioning as Resources for Elderly Persons with Chronic Arthritis Pain.”

National Center for Health Statistics: “Reasons for Emergency Room Use Among U.S. Adults

Aged 18–64: National Health Interview Survey, 2013 and 2014.”

Medscape: "Are Warnings Against NSAIDS in COVID-19 Warranted?"

Mayo Clinic: "Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on April 27, 2020

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How can telemedicine help when I have chronic pain?

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