All about Pain Management Services

The "Ins" and "Outs" of a Pain Clinic

When initially consulting your primary care provider about your newly acquired pain condition, you will often be referred to a pain specialist at a pain management center. Pain medicine is a separate branch of medicine that treats pain that is a result of disease, trauma and disorder.

Many people are unaware the pain is a separate branch of medicine in itself. Pain specialists require an MD degree like any other medical physician.

Followed by medical school and a year of interning, pain specialists usually do their residency in physical medicine, sports medicine sometimes other fields such as psychiatry. For those who really want to pursue pain medicine, a fellowship lasting one year is required. In addition to this education and training, successful and acclaimed pain medicine specialists are usually board certified.

There is no cure for chronic pain. However, pain medicine serves to manage chronic pain by treating its symptoms via medication and lifestyle changes. Pain services not only prescribes your medication, opioid included, but also addresses your functionality in your everyday life. The overall goal for a pain specialist is to increase your mobility, functionality, and wellness. Unlike what people perceive, pain specialists want to decrease your dependency on your medication.

Patients that come to pain management services have different types of pain.

Acute pain lasts for a shorter period of time and is typically indicative of something off in your body. Chronic pain is long-term pain that lasts longer than 6 months. Chronic pain can be either constant or intermittent. Often times, the best treatment method for chronic pain is to combine treatments and come up with an unique option catered to the patient’s pain and lifestyle.

Leading causes of chronic pain are degenerative disc disease and arthritis, both natural problems that coincide with aging.

Visiting a pain specialist is like visiting your general doctor or medical provider. However, the primary change is that your appointment will be catered to and focused on your pain. In order to fully understand your pain, pain specialists will perform physical and neurological exams on you. They will also examine your medical history to monitor your pain throughout your life.

When you visit a pain specialist, you will be routinely asked a set of questions. One of the most important things you will be asked to do is to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being non-existent pain and 10 being unimaginable pain. Once, and if, you have been prescribed pain medication you will also be asked to differentiate your pain with medication and without medication. This is the best ploy for your pain specialist to monitor whether your correct treatment plan is apt for you.

During your initial consultation, you will be asked for a timeline of your pain. It is important for you to point out when and how your pain started and how it has progressed within that time period. You will also be asked to be specific regarding the location of your pain and if it radiates somewhere or if it is concentrated, or localized, in one specific area. In addition to this, a description of your pain will be necessary. Key words you may use to help you describe your pain more accurately include achy, stabbing, burning, pins and needles, etc.

Often times to obtain the most adequate diagnosis, your doctor may ask you to get imaging done, this could be in the form of a MRI, X-ray, or CT scan. By looking at your imaging your doctor will be able to track down the origin and cause of your pain, primarily neck or back. Often times tests such as bone scans or nerve studies may be performed in regards to spine-related problems. It is vital that you have an accurate diagnosis so you can receive the most beneficial treatment plan.

It is important to relay to your pain specialists any treatments you have tried on your own and what you believe has worked and has not. This includes medication, whether it is over-the counter or prescribed. Opioid and pain medication has the ability to influence other portions of your body. Thus it is important to be completely thorough regarding your medication regimen and your lifestyle so your opioid or pain medication does not adversely influence you in any manner.

Though pain management is its own specialty, it often requires the attention and involvement of other specialties such as orthopedics, oncology, cardiology, etc. In the end, your pain specialist wants to help you regain full functionality by managing your pain. It is important to be open and attentive when seeking the care of a pain specialist. Always remember to express your concerns and objectives in order to retain the most beneficial and thorough care.

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