Pain management overview

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Pain relief is a branch of medicine that applies scientific knowledge to reduce pain. Covers a wide range of conditions including neuropathic pain, sciatica , postoperative pain, and more. Pain management is a rapidly evolving medical specialty that requires a multidisciplinary approach to treating all types of pain. Dr. Sameh Yonan, a pain specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, says, "We assess, rehabilitate, and treat people in pain ." Your healthcare provider can refer you to a pain reliever specialist if your pain is persistent or severe.

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Pain management specialists

Pain care providers recognize the complex nature of pain, and the pain reliever "addresses the problem from every angle," Yonan said. Ideally, pain clinic treatment is patient-centered, but in reality this may depend on the center's available resources. There are currently no established standards for the types of disciplines to be included and this is another reason why treatment proposals will vary from clinic to clinic.

But at least experts say the center should offer patients three types of healthcare providers: a coordinating pain management physician who advises specialists on their behalf; physical rehabilitation specialist; and a psychiatrist to help you manage any associated depression or anxiety, especially if you have chronic pain.

Other medical specialties represented in pain management are anesthesiology, neurosurgery, and internal medicine. Your coordinating health care provider can also refer you for services from occupational health professionals, social workers, and / or complementary and alternative medicine physicians.

To qualify as a pain relief specialist in the eyes of the American Board of Medical Specialties, a healthcare provider must complete additional training and certification in pain medicine and be a board certified physician in at least one of the following specialties:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. James Dillard, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, says that the pain reliever should also limit his practice to the specialty in which he is certified. You can check to see if healthcare providers are certified for the pain clinic you are considering on the American Board of Specialties website.

The goals of pain relief

Although some types of pain can be chronic, such as headaches, and others acute, such as postsurgical, in the field of pain relief, this is considered a disease. This allows scientific knowledge and the latest medical advances to be applied to relieve pain.

"We now have many methods, including medications, interventional pain relief (nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulants, and similar treatments), and physical therapy and alternative medicine to help reduce pain," says Yonan.

The goal of pain relief is to minimize pain, not eliminate it. This is due to the fact that it is often impossible to get rid of it completely. The other two goals are to improve function and improve quality of life. These three goals go hand in hand .

If you are visiting an anesthesia clinic for the first time, you may experience the following:

  • Qualification.
  • Diagnostic tests, if necessary, as defined in the evaluation.
  • Referral to surgeon if indicated by testing and evaluation.
  • Interventional treatments such as injections or spinal cord stimulation .
  • Physical therapy exercises to increase range of motion and strength, and to prepare to return to work.
  • Psychiatry to treat depression , anxiety, and / or other problems that may accompany your chronic pain.
  • Alternative medicine as a complement to other treatments.

According to Yonan, patients suffering from back and neck pain do better with the pain management program: those who have had multiple back surgeries, including failed surgeries, and are still suffering from pain, those who have neuropathy. And those for whom it has been determined that the operation would not benefit their condition.

'People who are addicted to painkillers actually need more sophisticated help than the pain relief program can offer. A chronic pain rehabilitation program is the best option for these people, ”he says.

According to Pain Physician , the results of pain relief studies do not always apply to the problems that patients come to clinics with on a daily basis. Unfortunately , this has a negative impact on insurance coverage and other benefits. activities as well as the standardization of this medical specialty.

'Better understanding of pain syndromes by communities and insurance companies, as well as additional research on pain, will help increase insurance coverage for pain management. In the future, the use of technology will help improve the results of interventional pain relief methods, Yonan says.

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