What To Expect From A Pain Clinic
More than 50 million Americans are living and dealing with chronic pain. Leading an active and full life may seem unachievable, but don’t give up. If the pain treatment to date has not been effective, a pain clinic may be able to help.
A pain clinic is a health care facility focusing on diagnosing and managing chronic pain. Some specialize in pain related to a certain body area or a specific diagnosis; other pain clinics are more general in their practices. Pain clinics help you to become actively involved in managing your pain and regaining control of your life, focusing on you as a total person, not just your pain.
What is Your Pain Tolerance?
Why does back pain annoy one person and yet for another it’s sheer agony putting them out of commission? That’s because each person’s pain tolerance is uniquely shaped by a number of biological and psychological factors.
What is the Role of a Pain Clinic?
Pain clinics may differ in their focus and what they offer they all share the goal of managing the pain of their patients. Pain clinics usually have numerous specialists on staff including doctors, physical therapists, psychologists, alternative therapists such as massage therapists and acupuncturists, diagnostic staff and pain management specialists. All of these people will work together to create a pain management plan for you.
Pain Management Strategies
The pain clinic will tailor your therapy to your specific circumstances, preferences and needs depending on the cause of your pain. Treatment regimes may include one or more of the following:
• Non aspirin pain medications – OTC like Tylenol
• NSAIDs – OTC like Naproxen, Motrin, Aleve, Advil, etc.
• Corticosteroids – These cortisone type drugs are used for severe inflammation and require a prescription.
• Opioids – Prescription pain medications such as Vicodin, Percocet, Hydrocodone, OxyContin, Demerol, etc.
• Antidepressants – Can be helpful in relieving some forms of pain and are often used to promote sleep.
Many time medications aren’t adequate by themselves in treating chronic pain so medications are often combined with other techniques such as:
• Nerve blocks – Injections of local anesthetics can block pain to a specific area.
• Injections – Local anesthetics can be combined with corticosteroids and injected into the muscle, joint, or nerve root to relieve swelling, muscle spasm, irritation and pain.
• Physical therapy – A physical therapist or physiatrist will prescribe an exercise program that focuses on increasing your function while decreasing your pain. This can include deep muscle massage, TENS, and ultrasound.
• Electrical stimulation – This uses the TENS machine (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), which stimulates the nerve fibers through your skin with electrical impulses.
• Acupuncture – This is an ancient Chinese technique that inserts tiny needles at specific points to relieve your pain.
• Relaxation techniques – Relaxation training and/or biofeedback training can help to reduce your stress and relieve your pain.
How to Find a Good Pain Clinic
Once you decide to visit a pain clinic, you will want to do your homework as not all pain clinics offer the same services. Find out what pain therapies are offered, the credentials of the staff, the beliefs and goals of the pain clinic, and whether it develops treatment plans based on your individual needs. Choosing a pain clinic that’s a good match for you is important if you wish to see the best results.