Vascular pain is a serious medical condition affecting millions of people in the United States each year. Such pain may be chronic, acute or sub-acute and may range in severity from mild to debilitating. The cause of the pain is not always clear, although it may often result from vascular abnormalities in which blood vessels do not function properly and blood flow is impeded. When this happens, tissues, organs or nerves in the area may be adversely affected. When vascular pain occurs in the legs, it is called claudication.
There are, however, many other possible causes of this type of pain, which can make the condition difficult to treat. It is important for patients to confer with trained vascular specialists to determine the appropriate method of treatment for their particular symptoms and overall medical condition.
Causes of Vascular Pain
There are several different vascular conditions that may lead to pain and other troubling symptoms, which may include:
- Coronary artery disease
- Peripheral artery disease
- Vascular rupture
- Circulatory problems
- Blood vessel spasms
- Traumatic injuries
Sources of vascular pain may be diagnosed through a series of tests, including blood tests and imaging exams, such as venogram. ultrasound, CT scan and echocardiogram.
Symptoms of Vascular Pain
Patients with vascular conditions may experience pain or heaviness in the affected area, most frequently the legs, since blood circulation to this region travels the longest route and involves blood flowing against gravity. In addition to pain, patients with vascular disease may experience numbness, weakness, or tingling. These symptoms may come and go depending on the type and severity of each patient's individual condition, as well as the activity being performed, but are certainly apt to interfere with normal routines. Symptoms of vascular pain tend to occur after long periods of sitting or standing in the same position.
Treatment of Vascular Pain
Depending on each patient's condition, different treatments may be recommended to relieve symptoms and treat underlying conditions. Even when not severe, vascular pain may be a sign of serious vascular disease, such as arteriosclerosis or even deep vein thrombosis, and so should be taken seriously. There are a variety of treatments used to treat vascular pain. In the mildest cases, elevating the legs whenever possible and wearing compression stockings may be sufficient remedies. Medications such as anticoagulants are often effective in restoring normal blood flow. Many patients, however, may require additional treatments for vascular pain. These treatments may include:
- Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA)
- Subfascial endoscopic perforator surgery (SEPS)
- Venous bypass
- A combination of treatments.
Prevention of Vascular Pain
Patients can reduce their risk of developing certain vascular conditions through a series of simple lifestyle changes, which may include losing weight, not smoking, exercising regularly, avoiding standing for long periods of time and keeping the legs elevated whenever possible. Compression garments are also helpful in promoting normal blood flow and avoiding swelling in the extremities that can often be caused by vascular conditions.