For help with any type of chronic pain, contact our office to schedule an appointment with a pain medicine doctor. Chronic pain is any type of pain that lasts longer than a few months. It can be caused by previous injuries or can have no apparent cause. The experts at our center specialize in diagnosing and managing all aspects of pain. By scheduling an appointment, you are taking the first step toward moving forwarding in a pain-free lifestyle where you are able to go about your daily activities with no discomfort.
Causes of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be a result of many factors. Mostly, the conditions that accompany your normal aging may affect your bones as well as joints in some ways that lead to pain. In some cases, you can trace your chronic back pain to a particular injury that has since healed. However, other instances of chronic back pain do not have any apparent cause. Nonetheless, many cases of the chronic pain are caused or related to the following medical conditions:
- Low back pain
- Arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
- Stomach ulcers
- Autoimmune disorders
- Gallbladder disease
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can lead to a myriad of both physical and emotional symptoms. Your pain medicine doctor can help you to determine which symptoms are related to your pain issue.
The following are the typical symptoms of chronic pain:
- Persistent pain that does not go away after an injury or illness
- A pain characteristic of burning, aching, shooting, or electrical sensation
- Tightness, soreness, stiffness, or discomfort
Chronic pain can cause additional symptoms, which include:
- Fatigue that can cause loss of motivation and impatience
- Sleeplessness, mainly because the pain is persistent throughout the day and night
- Limited physical activity
- Weak immune system, resulting in frequent infections
- Depression, which can even worsen your pain
- Mood changes, such as irritability, fear, anxiety, and stress
- Disability that may include not able to perform daily activities
What a Pain Medicine Doctor Does
A pain medicine doctor is a professional with a unique training in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of different types of pain. Pain entails a broad range of disorders that include chronic pain, acute pain, and cancer pain and occasionally a combination of all three forms. Sometimes pain can result from different factors such as nerve damage, surgery, and metabolic problems such as diabetes. In rare occasions, pain can be a problem by itself and may result without any underlying medical condition. With the increased need to extensively study the science of pain, some fields have emerged to equip physicians with relevant skills for particular forms of pain. Some of the standard techniques used to treat chronic pain include:
- Comprehensive knowledge of the physiology of pain
- Specialized procedures for diagnosing painful conditions
- Ability to assess the patients with complicated pain conditions
- Suitable prescribing of drugs to varying pain conditions
- Skills to execute specialized procedures (such as spinal injections, nerve blocks, and other interventional methods)
With an ever increased introduction of new medication systems, technologies, and techniques, your pain medicine doctor is specially trained to utilize this new emerging knowledge efficiently and safely to help each and every patient. Finally, the pain physician plays a crucial role in coordinating additional forms of care such as psychological therapy, physical therapy, and rehabilitation programs so as provide the patients with a comprehensive treatment plan to their pain.
What to Anticipate from your Initial Visit to a Pain Specialist
On your initial appointment with a pain medicine doctor, he will attempt to know you more as well as evaluate your specific pain condition. Typically, this will entail an understanding of your detailed history, review of the various tests you have undergone, and performing a physical exam. The physical exam and the questions that you are asked are mostly focused on your specific pain problem, and your past and present medical history. Depending on your symptoms, you might be asked to provide some imaging testing results if you have already had them completed (x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, for example). Your doctor might need you to re-do some of these tests as well, since the nature of pain and its related causes can quickly change. We will be sure to let you know what you need to bring to your first appointment.
Importantly, your visit is the right opportunity for your specialist to begin to analyze all of the relevant data about your pain condition and discuss with you concerning the primary assessment of your problem. This stage will help your specialist to have a clue of what is causing your pain, and it will guide him on the way forward.
A pain medicine doctor will select a suitable management technique from the many available ones to help ease your pain. The most methods used by pain specialists include:
- Nerve blocks
- Physical therapy
- Trigger point injections
- Implantable devices (e.g., stimulators, pumps)
In some instances, your pain management specialist will utilize other methods (such as hypnosis, meditation, acupuncture and biofeedback, and relaxation) to help you ease your painful experience. Settling on one or a combination of two complementary approaches will depend on the type of your pain and its severity. It is important to note that the choice of a specific pain management technique will depend on what your pain medicine doctor has identified as the cause of your pain and its severity.
Contact our office today to learn about how our pain medicine doctor can help you. We realize that not every treatment is ideal for each patient, and we work on finding a treatment plan that is tailored to you and your specific needs. Whether your ideal treatment involves medication or another approach, we will work hard to consider your overall health and wellbeing before recommending any type of treatment plan. Rather than just masking your symptoms, we seek to target the cause of your pain and work together to find a treatment approach that works best for your lifestyle.