When an individual suffers with pain on a constant basis for one reason or another, it is known as chronic pain. Pain, whether it accompanies a specific disease or not, can be so debilitating that it has become a field which has its own area of study and specialization. The specialists in this field are known as chronic pain management doctors. They will have studied and come to understand the physiology of pain. They will know how to assess individuals who suffer with a complicated series of aches and tenderness. These doctors will know what tests will be able to pinpoint the conditions causing the problems. Finally, they will be able to determine the correct solution for managing the pain, whether it is through injections or procedures that will stop it or therapy and rehabilitation programs that will ease the pain. The goal of a pain management doctor is to help individuals suffering with chronic pain to have a better quality of life using the most minimally invasive treatments possible.
Everyone suffers from aches or pains occasionally, but what is chronic pain? Chronic pain occurs when people suffer from throbbing aches for several months or more. It is difficult to control and although nearly 50 million Americans experience ongoing pain, it is not a widely understood problem. Chronic pain can be caused be several factors. Most often, it can be traced to an injury that caused muscle and tissue damage, even if the injury healed long ago. Chronic pain can also be a side effect of: arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, cancer or other diseases. It can be caused by simple problems brought on by an individual’s environment or lifestyle, such as poor posture, wearing high heels, sitting at a computer for prolonged periods, being overweight, improperly lifting heavy objects, or sleeping on a poor mattress. Even that dreaded culprit, age, can be thought to bring on chronic pain.
Pain management is meant to improve a patient’s ability to function during their daily lives while alleviating their pain. Chronic pain treatments will help to stop the pain temporarily, but are not always a definitive answer for targeting the source of the pain and eliminating it for good. At times, simple over-the-counter pain relievers, taken as recommended, are enough to relieve the pain, but other, stronger medications may be prescribed. Alternative pain relief practices like acupuncture, hypnotism, or massage therapies have been known to help some patients feel relief. Putting mind over matter, teaching an individual to use their brain to block pain by the use of relaxation techniques, also works for some people. Others will benefit from the use of devices that send small electrical stimulation to the nerves that causes a change in muscles. Some chronic pain management doctors will recommend that patients try the age old methods of exercise, physical therapy, or even rest and ice. As a last resort, surgery can also be an option.