Strategies for Effective Pain Management | Ask an Expert
Are you confused about what to do for your chronic pain? You are not alone. In fact, in 2011, 100 million Americans were suffering from pain according to the Institute of Medicine. And the figure has only increased since then. In general, there is an alarming lack of understanding about pain control. Some experts claim that in comparison to cancer care, your effective pain management lags 60 years behind.
However, many national organizations along with WHO (World Health Organization) know that strategies for your effective pain management are an essential part of patient care.
What is Pain?
In the past, pain was elusive, as people in different positions saw it from different viewpoints. But now pain is defined as an unpleasant physical, sensory and emotional experience that is a result of documented or potential tissue damage. The definition of pain is personalized to each individual. The experience is what is described by you, the patient.
The Impact of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain has a substantial negative impact on most people. It can disrupt your sleep, sexual life, work, and other daily activities. It can cause an emotional upset that may lead to your depression.
Acute pain is somewhat different from chronic pain in that with acute pain there is a definite source of your pain from either disease or damage. You experience pain that is tied to a definable source. Often chronic pain does not have this specific source, but your pain is not any less real but because of this fact, it can be more difficult to treat.
How has Effective Pain Management Treatment Changed Recently?
In the past, there was an emphasis on the delivery of effective pain strategies. But with best practices research, the emphasis has changed to measurable outcomes, such as shorter hospital stays, lowered costs and improved patient satisfaction. Now you can expect improvements in care through a variety of measures:
Patients who receive effective pain management education used 50% fewer narcotics and had shorter hospital stays. With comprehensive knowledge of what to expect, you will experience less stress, fewer symptoms, and improve the functionality of the situation more easily. Through education, your expert pain doctor in New York or pain doctor in New Jersey needs to focus on the explanation of surgical procedures, what to do after an operation, an understanding of various pain treatment options and the emphasis on the need for increased mobility.
B) Accurate Pain Assessments
Pain assessment scales help to communicate the severity of the pain according to each patient’s perception.
a) Typically, a rating scale is used to guide you in describing your pain more objectively. Often that scale stretches from 0 to 10.
b) Using that patient-controlled rating scale to monitor your pain level as well as other indicators of the general state of pain including the presence of nausea and vomiting, feeling of faintness, retention of urine and use of anti-inflammatory drugs allows a more objective view of your pain.
c) Assessing your pain when resting and during activity as well broadens the viewpoint.
d) Keeping a pain diary may also reveal some correlations between daily activities or stress levels and your pain levels.
How Can You Assist with Effective Pain Management?
Your progress will be enhanced if you play an active role in effective pain management. Here are some suggestions of how you can make a difference in your recovery.
- Understand information about pain, including how long your pain is likely to last. Chronic pain may never be eradicated, but it can be managed.
- Use pain measurement tools to guide your physician at the pain treatment clinic to understand the nature of your pain.
- Discuss the goals of each therapy suggested by your doctor, to gain insight about the methods to measure your progress, to discover what works best in your situation, and to feedback results to your primary care physician.
- Weigh the various options of your pain relief against the cons of the approaches. Monitor any negative results. Know what level of side effects is acceptable and what level requires an alteration in your overall plan of care.
- Recognize that constant pain will likely take a toll on your mental outlook and take steps to be as positive as possible through a variety of techniques – even to the point of accessing professional assistance. There are a variety of techniques to suit your lifestyle: positive self-talk, distraction, visualization, adequate rest, and exercise.
- Enlist assistance from the people close to you, so they can understand your limitations, assist you with the process, and provide positive feedback.
- Keep your primary care physician apprised of all the details of your condition, including any visits to after-hours health care or emergency room visits.
Best Practices for Your Effective Pain Management
The best practices include a multidimensional approach to care, careful monitoring and ongoing communication with your primary care physician. In a pain treatment clinic, you can access many different options for your care while determining which approach suits your lifestyle and recovery best. Among the plans for pain care are the following:
- Massage: this treatment is far different from the recreational massage you might receive at a spa. The massage is targeted to the area that is causing you pain.
- Acupuncture: Modern medical practices, through the examination of results, have now realized the benefits of this ancient practice to block the pain signals from reaching your brain.
- Physical Therapy: If your pain is a result of soft tissue damage, regular focussed exercises can promote the healing process while building muscles to prevent the condition from returning.
- Chiropractic Manipulation: Again, the statistics demonstrate that for some conditions, hand manipulation can be a useful tool in reducing your pain.
- Pain Medications: Whether the medications that you need are over the counter or are prescribed, it is useful to tailor the usage to the effectiveness of the drug in your situation. If side effects are intolerable or if the drug is not effective, you can expect that you may need to alter the dosage, try a variety of drugs, and use the effective medication on a regular basis. It may take two or three weeks to determine the effectiveness of each change you make to determine what is best for you.
- Injections: You may find that injections of a pain medication or anti-inflammatory is more effective than an oral medication.
- Surgery: For some situations, surgery can be an effective way of reducing your acute pain.
- Effective pain management has changed in recent years and with further research will change in the future.
- Pain is now recognized as a very personal experience. Determining what you are feeling along with its level, is critical to your recovery.
- Your doctor, medical personnel and you should form a team to focus on eliminating or managing your pain.
- Since best practices are evidence-based and ever evolving, your well-trained pain doctor in NY or pain doctor in NJ at a pain treatment clinic will continually investigate new avenues of pain treatments to meet your needs.