Pain management is a procedure in which a health care provider offers you effective treatment options that will help alleviate or reduce the pain. This blog will have a detailed discussion about pain management types, symptoms, diagnosis, causes, and available pain management treatments.
- Different pain management strategies may include physical therapies, pain-relieving medications, and complementary therapies (like massage and acupuncture).
- Several pain types involve chronic pain, acute pain, radicular pain, nociceptive pain, and neuropathic pain.
- Some of the most significant causes of pain may include any injury or surgery, arthritis, infections, back problems, and nerve damage.
- It is not possible to measure pain objectively. Your doctor will recommend you some diagnostic tests.
- Physical therapy is used to alleviate pain through special techniques that help improve movement and function impairment that occur either by disability or an injury.
- According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), acupuncture is one of the most effective treatment options.
- When standard medicines and other pain management treatments are not effective enough to provide you with adequate pain relief, surgical implantation is the last available option.
- The most crucial element you need to consider while looking for a pain management doctor is his board certification, experience, and training.
What is Pain Management?
Pain management is a process in which a healthcare provider offers you medical care to alleviate or reduce pain. Different types of available management strategies include physical therapies, pain-relieving medications, and complementary therapies (like massage and acupuncture). Studies suggest that an individual’s quality of life is highly affected by their viewpoint and how they cope with the pain emotionally.
Types of Pain
Pain can be categorized into the following five most common types, including:
- Chronic pain.
- Acute pain.
- Radicular pain.
- Nociceptive pain.
- Neuropathic pain.
Pain may vary in intensity, such as sharp, mild, dull, or severe. It can adversely affect your mental and physical health. You should know about the pain symptoms as it will help you while describing them to a doctor. Some of the most critical symptoms may include:
- Joint pain.
- Muscle aches.
- Sleep problems.
- Burning pain.
- Mood problems, like anxiety, depression, and irritability.
- Loss of stamina and flexibility because of decreased activity.
Which Conditions Cause Chronic Pain?
Sometimes, you may experience pain without any particular reason. But, in most cases, it began just after an injury or due to some health condition. Some of the significant causes may include:
- Any injury or surgery.
- Migraine or other headache types.
- Back problems.
- Nerve damage.
- Fibromyalgia, a condition in which you will feel pain throughout the body.
How Is Chronic Pain Diagnosed?
The doctor can not measure the pain objectively. You have to describe your pain’s intensity. Your doctor will ask you the location of your pain and for how long you are suffering from it. Further, he will ask whether it is sharp or dull, constant, or occurs off and on. Sometimes you will be asked to rate the pain by using a numerical scale. The doctor will do a physical examination and may recommend additional diagnostic tests, including:
1. Laboratory Tests
These tests are performed for analyzing urine, blood, and fluid from the brain and spinal cord.
2. Musculoskeletal or Neurological Exams
Your doctor will suggest these tests for assessing sensation, reflexes, balance, and coordination.
3. Imaging tests
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for obtaining scans of the spinal cord, brain, and other required structures.
- X-rays for getting the images of the joints, bones, and other structures.
4. Electrodiagnostic Procedures
- Electromyography is used for testing muscle activity.
5. Nerve Conduction Studies to keep a record of the nerves working.
What Are the Treatment Options for Chronic Pain?
There are several treatment options available for chronic pain. But there is not a guarantee of getting complete pain relief from a single approach. Your doctor will recommend the combination of the following pain management treatment options:
- Drug Therapy
You can get relief from mild forms of pain by using over-the-counter medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen. In addition, NSAIDs and acetaminophen help in alleviating pain due to stiffness and muscle aches. NSAIDs also help in reducing inflammation(irritation and swelling). Your doctor will prescribe you more potent drugs if over-the-counter medications are unable to provide you any relief. Additionally, in a limited amount, the usage of steroid injections at the pain site can help reduce inflammation and swelling.
According to research and authenticated studies, the risk of having strokes and heart attacks increases if you use high doses of over-the-counter NSAIDs. Also, there are high chances of having stomach ulcers.
- Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injection is a process used for treating painful parts of the muscles that have trigger points or muscle knots. They occur due to the non-relaxation of the muscles. In this procedure, your doctor will inject local anesthesia at your trigger point location through a small needle. This injection will make your trigger point inactive and alleviate your pain. The above procedure is used for treating muscle pain in the legs, arms, neck, and lower back. This treatment is also used to treat tension, headaches, fibromyalgia, and myofascial pain syndrome.
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is used to relieve pain through special techniques that help improve movement and function impaired by disability or an injury. You need to follow the suggestions of a physical therapist along with the other treatment options recommended by your doctor.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), several authenticated studies suggest that acupuncture is one of the most effective treatment options. This procedure works extraordinarily well to get relief from many pain-related conditions, including neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis/knee pain, and headache. Acupuncture is also considered as an acceptable alternative or may be included as part of a comprehensive pain management program.
- Chiropractic Adjustments
Chiropractic adjustments are considered the most common treatment options used to alleviate neck pain, lower back pain, chronic headaches, arthritis, and migraines. A clear improvement is seen in the people undergoing this treatment. Further studies are currently evaluating the efficiency of chiropractic care for pain management.
Taking rest for a short time can help you alleviate pain, but excessive rest may increase your pain and the risk of injury when you perform any movement.
According to research, you can get relief through regular exercises in the long term through improving strength, muscle tone, and flexibility.
- Massage Therapy
According to the research, one of the most effective treatment options is massage therapy. It can be a proficient technique of pain relief and management. The data obtained from several studies suggest pain management specialists consider including massage therapy in their pain management programs.
- Reiki Healing
In the previous few years, a few surveys assessed published studies on the effectiveness of these recuperating ways to ease pain, anxiety and improve health. Even though several studies demonstrated beneficial impacts with no significant adverse effects, some of these studies’ limitations are making it hard to come to any definitive conclusions. Further research is required before suggesting these methodologies for torment treatment.
- Surgical Implantation
When standard medicines and non-invasive pain management treatments are not effective enough to provide you with adequate relief from the pain, the last available option is surgical implantation. It is a rarely used procedure and has two primary types of implants for controlling pain:
- Intrathecal drug delivery.
- Spinal cord stimulation implants.
- Herbal Remedies
It has been hard to make inferences about herbs’ efficacy; however, some herbs, including white willow bark, cat’s claw, ginger, devil’s claw, and turmeric, have some proof supporting their utilization. On the off chance that you choose to utilize herbal remedies to more readily deal with your agony, tell your primary care physician. Some herbs may collaborate with drugs you are getting for torment or other conditions. As a result, it may have a negative impact and may affect your health adversely.
- Natural Pain Relief Through Nutritional Supplements
There is some evidence that shows that you can get benefits by using dietary supplements, like fish oils. But still, more research is required before drawing any definitive conclusion.
What Do Pain Management Doctors Do?
A pain management doctor has exceptional training to evaluate, diagnose, and treat all different pain forms. Pain contains a wide range of disorders that include chronic pain, acute pain, cancer pain, and maybe the combination of all. There can be various reasons for pain like past injury, surgery, nerve damage, and metabolic problems like diabetes. Sometimes, you may also experience pain without any apparent cause.
As the medical field is exploring more about the pain complexities, it has become essential for physicians to have specialized knowledge and extraordinary expertise for treating all the pain conditions. He should be capable enough to evaluate the most complicated pain-related issues, prescribe correct medications, has a good understanding of specialized tests to diagnose the pain conditions, and perform all treatment options. Pain management physicians should be aware of the new techniques and have the ability to apply advanced knowledge safely and proficiently to the patients.
The pain management doctor plays a significant part in planning extra consideration, including psychological therapy, physical therapy, and recovery programs to offer patients an extensive treatment plan with a multidisciplinary way to deal with the treatment of their agony.
What Should I Look for in a Pain Management Doctor?
The most crucial element you need to consider while looking for a pain management doctor is his experience and training. Several chronic pain types require an elaborate treatment plan and specialized interventional techniques; hence you should know about your doctor’s training and his board certification in pain management.
You should also know about your doctor’s experience with your specific pain condition and the types of pain management treatments they are offering.
How Can I Be Referred to a Pain Management Specialist?
One of the ideal approaches to getting referred to a pain management specialist is through your primary care physician. Most pain management specialists work intimately with their patients’ primary care physicians to protect excellent correspondence, giving the ideal treatment to their patients. Often, patients are referred to doctors who manage various types of agony issues. Back surgeons, cancer doctors, neurologists, and other specialists typically work consistently with a pain physician and can refer you to one.
What Should I Expect During My First Visit to a Pain Management Specialist?
On your first visit to a pain management doctor, your specialist will assess your specific particular issue. He will ask for your detailed history and will perform a physical examination. He will review already performed tests, as it will help the doctor to determine the actual source of your pain. He may ask you to fill the questionnaire before your first visit. You will possibly be asked to bring any imaging studies (such as X-rays, computed tomography [CAT] scans, or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] scans) or any other tests that have already been done. The first visit is considered important as it will allow the patient and the physician to have a detailed discussion about the pain problem. This will help your pain management doctor to provide you with an accurate treatment plan.
We suggest you visit Complete Medical Wellness for appropriate diagnosis, sound medical advice, and proficient pain management treatments. We have a team of experienced and fellowship-trained pain management specialists and doctors who are capable enough to provide you effective treatment options after analyzing the exact source and severity of your pain.