Algology is a medical unit specializing in the treatment of long-lasting, chronic, and complex pain that cannot be resolved by different methods. Algologists are specialist doctors trained in pain science. To become an algologist, doctors who have completed 6 years of medical education must first get specialization training in one of the fields of neurology, physical medicine, and rehabilitation or anesthesiology all of which take 4-5 years. After that, the duration of the Algology specialty training is 2 years.
One of the key roles of algology is to identify the cause of a person's pain. Chronic pain is defined as caused pain that lasts for more than three months, and a wide range of underlying conditions, such as arthritis, nerve damage, or cancer, can cause it. Algologists use various diagnostic tools, including physical exams, imaging tests, and pain nerve conduction studies, to help determine the cause of a person's pain.
Once the source of the pain has been identified, algologists work with patients to develop a treatment plan tailored to their needs. Medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications may all be used to treat chronic pain.
Major Disease Groups Requiring Algology Treatment
Pain is one of the most important symptoms that is seen with almost all chronic diseases and reduce the quality of life. It is a problem that can affect all individuals of all ages and genders, who are struggling with acute or chronic diseases. The majority of pain types that algology units manage and treat are in the following groups:
- Neuropathic pain due to diabetes
High blood sugar level for too long cause damage to nerve fibers that is very difficult to reverse. This damage can lead to very severe neuropathic pain. Although nerve damage cannot always be eliminated, neuropathic pain can be prevented to a large extent with some treatments applied by algology units.
- Pain caused by atherosclerosis
Arteries clogged due to diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia cannot receive enough blood to the relevant organs. In this case, pain may occur in the limb where the clogged vessel carries blood. In the case of untreatable vascular occlusion or very severe pain, the treatment of these pains is carried out by algology units.
- Cancer-related pain
Cancer pain is a very important health problem that negatively affects the quality of life, especially for end-stage cancer patients. With the help of experienced algology and oncology experts, pain can be controlled with the use of opioids at appropriate doses and intervals.
- Chronic headache and facial pain
Migraine, tension-type headache, facial neuralgia (most commonly trigeminal neuralgia), spine problems and many other conditions can bring along the pain in this group.
- Shoulder, arm, and neck pain
These pains are usually caused by a spine-related disease such as neck hernia or flattening of the neck. Compression of the nerves leading to the spinal cord or arm due to hernias is the cause of the pain. In cases where medications and physical therapy methods are not sufficient, help can be obtained from the algology department for the treatment of pain.
- Back and chest pains
Many pains originating from muscles, ribs, spine and intervertebral discs, spine, heart, lungs or stomach can cause pain in the back and chest. People with chronic and severe pain (especially existing for more than 6 months) that cannot be managed by other medical units are referred to algology units.
- Waist and leg pains
The most important source of chronic low back and leg pain is the spine and spinal cord. These can be problems such as sciatica, herniated disc, and disc degeneration.
- Abdominal and groin pains
Some of the causes of pain in the abdomen and inguinal region that do not respond to other treatments may be nerve pressure in the abdominal muscles. Sometimes, there may be reflection pains from the back, waist, or intra-abdominal pain as well.
- Pain of unknown causes
Despite all kinds of research, the cause of this condition may not be determined in some of the chronic, incurable pains. In such cases, it is possible to determine from which nerves the pain originates by using interventional methods. With the help of imaging methods, the source of the pain can be determined by placing a catheter" in the possible nervous system area and with the drugs given.
Common Treatment Methods Used in Algology
When planning a treatment for pain management, algologists consider several factors, including the type and intensity of the pain, any underlying medical conditions, and the potential for side effects. Common treatment methods are as follows:
Here are some of the most common types of medications used in algology pain treatment:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFT) is the permanent or long-term deactivation of the nerve by creating a lesion in the nerve or nerve network using heat that is obtained with high-frequency electric current. Today, innovative radiofrequency techniques such as Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF), Cooled radiofrequency (CRF) can be successfully applied in algological treatments.
It is the treatment in which the nerve roots that come out of the spinal cord and are effective in the formation of pain are blocked with a local anesthetic substance and steroid injection (pain blocking).
Spinal cord batteries
Spinal cord batteries, which are placed under local anesthesia and sedation in the area that causes pain in the spine, are generally preferred in the treatment of neuropathic pain due to diabetes, which is very severe and does not even respond to morphine treatment.
Hernia pain that cannot be relieved by the drugs or physical therapies recommended in the clinic can be treated with local anesthetic liquid or steroid injections if the hernia is not yet at a level that requires surgery.
HealthTürkiye - Making Your Pain Vanish
Algology treatment is an important option for chronic pain patients. Various medications and interventional procedures may be used to help manage chronic pain, and working with an algologist can be an important step in finding the right treatment plan for your specific needs. We recommend visiting our website for more information about algology treatment and various related procedures.
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