Whether you’ve been injured or you have a chronic condition, you may have a lot of questions for your doctor about your treatment and prognosis. Pain can become debilitating and greatly affect your quality of life without an effective plan in place to treat it. If you’re concerned about how your doctor can help you defeat or manage chronic pain, we have some answers.
What is Pain Management?
It’s a specialized area of medicine that takes a more well-rounded, targeted approach to treating chronic pain from injuries or disease. Doctors who practice pain management work with patients and other caregivers to devise and implement a multi-pronged approach that addresses all of the issues associated with pain, including emotional and mental distress. The goal is to help the patient and the people in their life use a variety of tools and methods to cope with pain safely and effectively from day-to-day.
What Kind of Training Do Pain Management Doctors Receive?
Pain management doctors are board-certified specialists who receive training through schools and fellowships to learn methods to diagnose and treat chronic or acute pain. They generally take a comprehensive approach using traditional and alternative techniques to create personalized care plans with the goal of progressively minimizing pain. For instance, according to a local Torrance Pain Management office, your care team might include a whole team of specialists such as: Pain Management Physicians, Physical Therapists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Regenerative Medicine Specialists and Cosmetic Medicine Doctors and a whole host of nurses and physicians assistants. Anyone you can think of that may be involved in managing pain.
What Techniques Are Used for Pain Management?
The whole point of pain management as a medical field is to tailor treatment to the individual patient using a combination of techniques and methods. It’s a form of medical care that incorporates all elements of the patient, mind, body and spirit, for a more comprehensive approach.
The first thing your doctor will do is perform a detailed analysis that includes taking a complete medical history to learn about past injuries, surgeries and treatments. You’ll also discuss your lifestyle as well as current physical and mental health concerns. Next, you’ll undergo a physical exam that might include X-rays, MRIs and diagnostic injections. Depending on the results and other factors discovered during your consultation, your doctor will work with you to create a plan of action to address your pain. Solutions or treatments might include:
* Relaxation techniques
* Mental imagery
* Radiation therapy
How Can I Communicate My Pain Level to My Doctor?
The basis for all productive health care is good communication between patient, doctor and other care providers. How readily you’re able to describe your pain will form the foundation for effective care. Many patients keep a pain diary that helps detail their day-to-day experience with acute or chronic pain. Keeping a diary will help you and your doctor identify what triggers your pain and discomfort, where you’re experiencing pain and its duration. For example, if you’re having sudden, sharp pain in a specific area, your doctor can investigate further. If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression with your pain, your doctor can help you and your family cope with that, too.
There’s also a protocol in place to help patients communicate more effectively regarding pain. You can evaluate your pain at various times on a scale of 0 – 10, with 10 being extreme. Pain levels can also be evaluated by the degree to which your discomfort affects different areas of your life like:
* Limitations on your personal life
* Your ability to work
* Mood swings
* Physical symptoms like dizziness, headaches, sweating and fatigue
How Does Pain Affect Anxiety and Depression?
Physical pain and your mental state go hand-in- hand. If you’re in constant pain, you may begin to feel depressed. Experiencing a pain trigger can bring on bouts of anxiety. If these symptoms and the underlying causes aren’t address and mitigated, they can become chronic and long-term.
The source of your pain can bring on anxiety or depression, too. If you have a progressive condition or a life-threatening illness, your fears about mortality, quality of life and your family’s future will need to be addressed. Flexible treatment that includes improving your emotional well-being can improve your outlook.
How Are Pain and Cancer Linked?
Cancer can be widespread throughout the body or localized in the area of a tumor. The further your cancer has progressed, such as with multiple tumors or when tumor grows and interferes with your organs, the more likely you are to experience significant pain. Pain management for cancer patients must be flexible enough to not only deal with the various stages, but alleviate discomfort during treatment such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
You don’t have to allow chronic pain to rule your life. There is help out there. Find a qualified pain management clinic in your area today.