Pain is the most common reason people seek out medical treatment. It costs patients, providers, and society money by reducing productivity. Understanding pain can help people regain control of their lives and return to work, play, hobbies, and activities they love. Pain management can also offer a variety of non-pharmacologic techniques for controlling pain, including counseling and therapy.
Know the Type of Pain
Pain is a complex experience that differs from person to person. It can feel sharp, throbbing, prickling, or burning and may come and go or be constant. Pain tells you something is wrong and usually signals an injury or illness like a sprained ankle, strained knee, or burn. Most pain comes from tissue damage, called nociceptive pain. It’s the type of pain you experience when you stub your toe, cut yourself, or fall and scrape up your knee. It can be acute or chronic, affecting your internal organs (visceral pain) or musculoskeletal system (somatic pain). Some people with long-lasting pain have a condition called neuropathic pain, which happens when nerves in the body send pain signals by mistake. This can happen with conditions like diabetes, fibromyalgia, and HIV. Pain is also influenced by your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, which can make it more difficult to control. It can even cause a lot of stress, so it’s essential to see your healthcare provider to develop a plan.
Know Your Doctor’s Approach
A good pain management program can help you feel physically and emotionally better. It can also help you deal with the challenges of living with chronic pain and find ways to improve your quality of life. Your first appointment with a specialist at a pain clinic near me may last about an hour and will usually start with the doctor performing a physical exam and asking you questions. They’ll want to know where your pain is, how severe it is on a scale of 1-10, and what types of treatments you have tried. A pain management doctor will be specially trained to diagnose and treat chronic pain from disease, illness, or injury. They may be an anesthesiologist, a physiatrist (physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor), a neurologist, or a specialist. They often offer various treatments, including medications, injections, and hands-on techniques. Some doctors even have a counseling or psychological component to their practice, helping people learn to cope with their pain and function more effectively.
Know Your Options
There are several medications used in pain management, including antidepressants, analgesics, and muscle relaxants. Some painkillers are taken orally, while others, such as fentanyl and oxycodone, require injections. Other treatments that don’t involve prescription drugs include physical therapy (such as whirlpool, ultrasound, or deep-muscle massage), medical hypnosis, acupuncture, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Chronic pain can cause depression or anxiety, so your doctor may recommend counseling or other types of therapy to help you cope. Meditation, yoga, and biofeedback can also teach you to respond differently to your pain. You can help manage pain by being active, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough rest. When pain flares up, please slow down and reintroduce activities slowly to avoid overdoing it. You can also learn coping techniques to reduce stress and improve mood, such as journaling or practicing relaxation techniques. You might also consider herbal remedies that reduce pain, such as white willow bark, kava, rhubarb, or cat’s claw.
Know Your Options
If you can’t get relief from your pain with over-the-counter and prescription medicines, consider seeing a specialist. Look for a pain clinic that offers physical, behavioral, and psychological therapies and medication. These clinics can teach you how to manage your pain so you can return to your daily life activities more efficiently. Pain management may include medications taken by mouth, such as NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and other analgesics. Other treatments include neuropathic pain medications, such as SNRIs (tricyclic antidepressants) or pregabalin and gabapentin, to treat nerve damage. Opioids such as tramadol or lidocaine may also be used in combination with other medicines to treat acute pain. Other treatment options may include acupuncture, in which thin needles are inserted into different parts of the body to interrupt pain signals. Physical therapy, including walking, swimming, and strengthening exercises, can help to reduce pain, keep muscles strong and improve mood. You can also try whirlpools, ultrasound, and deep-muscle massage.