Chronic Pain Specialist

Essential Medical Care

Family Medicine & Pain Management located in College Park, GA

More than 20% of Americans, about 50 million people, suffer from chronic pain. If your pain interferes with your ability to work or exercise, don’t wait to seek professional help. At Essential Medical Care, family medicine physician Vickie James, MD, offers complete care for all kinds of chronic pain. Call the office in College Park, Georgia, or book an appointment online today.

Chronic Pain Q&A

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is an aching, stiffness, or general discomfort that affects any part of your body for three months or longer. Without treatment, chronic pain can affect your quality of life and increase the risk of behavioral disorders like anxiety and depression.

Everyone experiences occasional pain. If you cut your finger while cooking, it might bleed and throb at first, but the discomfort usually goes away as soon as the injury heals. With chronic pain, your body continues to experience discomfort long after your recovery.

What are the symptoms of chronic pain?

Chronic pain affects everyone differently, but the telltale signs to watch out for include pain that’s:

  • Throbbing
  • Stinging
  • Stabbing
  • Burning
  • Squeezing

For some people, chronic pain shows up as a dull ache or a lasting feeling of stiffness.

What are some common causes of chronic pain?

Chronic pain can be caused by an injury, accident, or underlying medical condition. At Essential Medical, Dr. James diagnoses and treats chronic pain brought on by:

  • Migraines and other headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Sports injuries
  • Past surgery
  • Nerve damage
  • Infections

You might also benefit from treatment if you have a condition like fibromyalgia, which causes musculoskeletal pain and fatigue.

How is chronic pain diagnosed?

At Essential Medical Care, Dr. James diagnoses chronic pain by reviewing your medical history and asking you about your symptoms. These questions include where the pain is, how intense it is, and if any activities make it worse or better.

Next, Dr. James completes a physical exam. During the exam, she checks your reflexes, strength, and flexibility. She might also order lab tests, imaging procedures, electromyography to test your muscle activity, or nerve conduction studies to see if your nerves react as they should to stimulation.

After gathering the necessary information, Dr. James develops a custom treatment plan.

How is chronic pain treated?

How chronic pain is treated depends on several things, including your age and health, the kind of pain you have, and what’s causing it. Usually, Dr. James recommends healthy lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and keeping your stress levels in check.

You might also benefit from prescription medicine or interventional pain management, such as:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Epidural injections
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Ice and heat therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Nerve blocks
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Laser procedures
  • Assistive devices like a cane or crutches

In rare cases, surgery will be necessary. If you need surgery, Dr. James will refer you to an appropriate surgeon.

To receive treatment for chronic pain, make an appointment at Essential Medical Care by calling the office or booking online today.