Pain Management


 What is Pain Management?

Pain can be caused by surgery, injury, nerve damage, metabolic problems such as diabetes, or without any obvious cause at all. The complexities of pain create a special need for physicians with the knowledge and skills to treat pain, including the physiology of pain, specialized tests for diagnosis, medications for varying pain problems, and medical skills to perform procedures, spinal injections and other interventional techniques.

A pain management specialist provides care using a multidisciplinary approach. This treatment uses a combination of interventional procedures, physical therapy, psychological therapy, and medications.


 Types of Pain

 Chronic Pain

Pain is regarded as chronic when it lasts or recurs beyond the typical time expected based on the cause. It can be continuous or intermittent. According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 50 million people in the U.S. have chronic pain, “defined as pain on most days or every day in the past six months.”

One in four people over the age of 18 report chronic joint pain. Chronic joint pain may be caused by arthritis, but other causes include overuse at a job or the gym, damage to joint cartilage, tendinitis, disease, or an injury. Athletes often suffer from overuse injuries.
Disorders that may cause chronic pain include back and neck conditions, arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory diseases.

 Postoperative Pain

Acute postoperative pain is the pain experienced immediately after an operation, usually lasting for days or a few weeks. This is entirely normal and expected. The surgical incision and surrounding area can be inflamed and tender while tissues and muscles repair themselves. Sometimes pain may last longer than expected and become chronic. If this happens, a DOC pain management specialist is available to assess and treat the guest.

 

When does acute pain become chronic post-surgical pain? Chronic post-surgical pain symptoms include:

  • New pain after a surgical operation
  • Pain that persists or comes back beyond the usual recovery period

 

It is estimated that 30% of patients experience mild to severe chronic pain after surgery. Who is at risk of developing chronic pain after surgery?

  • Women more likely than men
  • People with other chronic pains
  • People with a genetic predisposition
  • People who experience anxiety about surgical procedures
  • People who experience severe acute postoperative pain

 

A combined approach to pain management is often the best option. Treatments may include pain relievers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), or steroid injections. Psychological methods, relaxation techniques, manipulation therapy, and physical therapy can also be effective for pain control. In 18 medical research studies, these methods reduced pain and improved treatment outcomes in physical and emotional post-surgery recovery.

Chronic post-surgical pain can be severe and may result in distress. The DOC pain management specialists in conjunction with the guest and his or her surgeon will customize pain control therapies to optimize relief for chronic postoperative pain.


 Common Causes of Pain

Common injuries and disorders that may cause pain and chronic pain include back and neck conditions, arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory diseases. Chronic pain from back and neck disorders, arthritis, joint dysfunction, and inflammatory diseases can be debilitating and limit quality of life. DOC pain management specialists strive to control pain, return the guest to the highest level of functioning and independence, and maintain or improve quality of life.

Back Pain

Back pain is the leading cause of physician visits and time away from work, affecting seven out of ten people. Back and neck pain may be caused by overuse, trauma, degeneration of disks, aging, infection, congenital abnormalities, obesity, poor muscle tone, sprain or strain, ligament or muscle tears, herniated disks, and arthritis.

 Arthritis

The CDC estimates that 54.4 million U.S. adults are diagnosed with a form of arthritis. Twenty-four million of them have their activity affected by this condition. Arthritis is joint inflammation. The most common form is osteoarthritis. Other common arthritis conditions are gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

 Joint Pain

One in four people over the age of 18 report chronic joint pain. Chronic joint pain may be caused by arthritis, but other causes include overuse at a job or the gym, damage to joint cartilage, tendinitis, disease, or an injury. Athletes often suffer from overuse injuries.

 Inflammatory Diseases

The World Health Organization ranks chronic inflammatory diseases as the most significant cause of death in the world. It is estimated that nearly 60% of Americans have at least one chronic inflammatory condition. Musculoskeletal inflammation from disease, including arthritis, is often associated with inactivity, stress, sleep deprivation, genes, age, lifestyle, nutrition, or an autoimmune disease.
 


 

Pain Management Physicians

A pain management specialist provides care using a multidisciplinary approach. This treatment uses a combination of interventional procedures, physical therapy, psychological therapy, and medications.

Pain management physicians have special training in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain.

The accepted standard for pain management education is a fellowship in pain management. The fellowship consists of at least one year of training in all aspects of pain management after completion of residency training. Most fellowship programs are associated with anesthesiology residency programs. When a physician has become board certified in their primary specialty and has completed an accredited fellowship, he or she becomes eligible for subspecialty board certification in pain medicine by the American Board of Anesthesiology, the American Board of Psychiatry and the American Board of Neurology, or the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.


 What to Expect at Your Appointment

During the initial appointment, a pain management specialist will evaluate the guest’s pain by obtaining a detailed medical history, performing a physical exam, reviewing current imaging studies, and ordering any appropriate additional tests. The pain management specialist will use this data to formulate a unique treatment plan for the guest. The plan will be thoroughly explained and all questions will be answered.

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