For the approximately 50 million Americans living with chronic pain, seeking help from a pain management specialist can mean the difference between being resigned to live with the pain and leading a full and active life.
Research shows that uncontrolled pain has an adverse effect on the immune system and can lower the body’s ability to respond to surgery, chemotherapy and psychological stress. In addition, uncontrolled pain can:
- Delay healing
- Decrease appetite
- Disrupt sleep
- Cause anxiety and depression
Choosing ways to manage your pain can return the enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures—and even prolong your life by reducing the negative effects of pain on your body.
Why see a pain management specialist?
As the medical profession’s knowledge of pain evolves, it has become more important than ever to train physicians to treat the complex conditions that cause pain and provide the most innovative methods for managing that pain.
A pain management specialist is a physician who acquires an in-depth knowledge of the physiology of pain, learns to evaluate and diagnose complex conditions, and is trained to perform specialized procedures—such as nerve blocks and spinal injections—designed to reduce or eliminate certain types of pain. In addition, a pain management specialist can coordinate complementary treatment options that offer patients a multidisciplinary, comprehensive treatment plan for their pain. These options might include acupuncture, physical therapy, biofeedback and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) therapy.
In general, pain management specialists complete a one-year fellowship program in pain management, which is additional training beyond the time spent in medical school and during their residency. With an ever-increasing number of innovative techniques and technologies becoming available for the treatment of pain, the pain management specialist is uniquely qualified to effectively help patients suffering from chronic pain.
Separate the fact from fiction
There are common misconceptions about pain that can get in the way of patients seeking help and getting their pain under control:
- FICTION: Pain is something you learn to live with.
- FACT: Pain can be treated and controlled.
- FICTION: Seeking help for pain means getting addicted to narcotic pain medications
- FACT: Narcotics are one option among many for treating pain. Quite often, narcotics are not prescribed. If they are, they can be managed so addiction does not become an issue.
- FICTION: It’s no point seeking help until the pain is barely tolerable.
- FACT: Pain is easier to control when treated early.
- FICTION: Doctors are too busy to deal with complaints about pain.
- FACT: Pain Management Specialists treat people who are in pain.
Schedule an appointment
The first—and most important—step in pain management is scheduling an appointment with a pain management specialist to determine the cause of your pain. On your first visit, the pain management specialist will take your medical history, do a physical exam and review the results of any previous tests you’ve had performed.
Based on this information and their own examination, the pain management specialist may be able to diagnose the cause of your pain or may choose to do further diagnostic procedures. By the time the appointment is over, you should have a better understanding of your pain as well as a treatment plan. Knowing what is causing your pain—and being able to talk about it openly with a specialist—will not only help you cope, it will place you in the position of taking an active role in managing your pain and regaining control of your life, which is the best position you could be in.
At Pain Management and Injury Relief, our pain management specialists use the latest technologies and most advanced equipment to help manage your pain. Our continuum of services includes targeted pain-relieving injections to minimally invasive procedures and non-narcotic pain-relief methods. In addition, we often recommend incorporating complementary alternative medicine (CAM) to relieve some of the symptoms of chronic pain.
If you’d like to learn more about options for addressing your chronic pain, we encourage you to call Pain Management and Injury Relief at (877) 724-6349 to make an appointment today.