We all experience pain at some point in our lives but for others, chronic pain can be debilitating. Pain management is the medical specialty that caters to the needs of treating all types of pain, including musculoskeletal, spinal and neuropathic pain disorders. With an accurate diagnosis and early intervention, pain management doctors hope to help patients avoid spiraling into a state of chronic pain, or at least reduce the severity of pain, and improve patients’ quality of life.
Usually, minimally invasive procedures and proper use of medications are implemented to achieve those goals. Pain management is an area of concentration that primary care physicians, orthopedists, neurologists and other healthcare providers increasingly rely on for their patients.
What is a pain management doctor?
Pain management doctors are skilled in the use of a wide variety of medications for pain control. They are excellent at maximizing function and symptom control while minimizing dependency on potentially addictive medications. They also have access to a wide variety of other pain management techniques. Working with your pain management doctor, you will be able to better define your goals for pain control and come up with a safe and realistic plan to help you live a more rewarding and comfortable life.
What does a pain management doctor do?
Depending on the cause of your pain, a pain management doctor may include one of several of the following treatments:
In many cases, patients are prescribed medication before receiving other forms of therapy. This could include non-aspirin pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, depressants, corticosteroids, and opioids.
Local anesthetics may sometimes be combined with a corticosteroid, these may be injected around nerve roots or into muscles and joints to relieve irritation, swelling, and muscle spasms.
If a group of nerves, called a ganglion or plexus, causes pain to a specific organ or body region, injections with local anesthetics may be useful for blocking the pain in that area.
Physical and aquatic therapy
A pain doctor may prescribe a specially tailored exercise program to increase function and decrease pain. Other physical therapy options at pain clinics may include whirlpool therapy, ultrasound, and deep-muscle massage.
Psychological support and counseling
Although pain is a physical sensation; many people in pain suffer emotionally with feelings of anger, sadness, and hopelessness. Dealing with unrelenting pain can affect your ability to hold a job, maintain a home, meet family obligations, and relate to friends and family members. Your pain management doctor may recommend you to get psychological support, along with medical treatment to help you manage your condition.
Relaxation techniques– Your pain management doctor may be able to teach you self-help techniques such as relaxation training or biofeedback to reduce stress and relieve pain.
Although sometimes surgery is clearly necessary to relieve a problem that is causing pain, it is often a treatment of last resort. If pain has not responded to any other treatment, surgery on certain nerves may offer relief and allow you to resume normal activities.
Since there are many forms of pain treatment and not all pain centers offer the same services, it’s important to do your homework before you consent to treatment. Find out what types of pain therapies are offered, what the doctors’ credentials are, and if they have successfully helped others with your type of pain.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain, contact board certified and fellowship trained pain management specialist, Dr. Adrian C. Dumitru. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please call (713) 461-8555.Dr. Adrian C. Dumitru. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please call (713) 461-8555.