Around 50 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain. Most of them struggle to concentrate on day-to-day tasks throughout the day and cannot sleep properly at night. The pain also affects their overall energy levels, and they, ultimately, cannot enjoy life like ordinary people.
If you are one of them, and chronic pain has made your life miserable, a renowned pain clinic can get you much-needed relief. It can get your life back to being healthy and active.
We understand that the journey to recovery and the choices you make to get relief is not easy. If you have already visited a pain doctor near you, and it didn’t work as per your expectation, being nervous about going to another pain management clinic is obvious.
No matter what kind of pain you are going through, you deserve relief, and it is your right to get the desired treatment. And we feel sorry for those who did not believe you and restricted you from getting adequate pain management treatment.
A reputable pain clinic is always dedicated to provide you with compassionate, caring, and cooperative surroundings to make your journey to recovery more pleasant and smooth.
For this reason, we have come up with a detailed blog to help you understand what you can expect from your pain management program. We have covered everything from your primary checkups to follow-ups post-discharge so that you know what a qualified professional pain expert can and should offer you.
What Is A Pain Clinic?
A pain clinic is a healthcare facility where professional pain doctors help diagnose and manage chronic pain issues. There are typically two types of pain clinics. One deals with some specific kinds of pains such as neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, etc., while the other type manages all types of health issues.
When you go for your initial consultation, a general physician will check you. Based on your chronic pain’s type and severity, you may have to consult with another doctor within the same clinic. Generally, such medical facilities have a team that includes:
- Physical therapists
- General Practitioners
- Occupational and vocational therapists
Patients are given psychological, physical, and behavioral therapies to manage pain. Medications are also part of their treatment plans. Plus, guidance and coaching on pain and lifestyle changes are given by the experts. If needed, they use complementary and alternative medicine programs such as meditation, water therapy, massage, acupuncture, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), biofeedback and more.
What Is A Pain Doctor?
A pain doctor is a medical specialist who first evaluates your pain severity and treats it with a mixture of medications and therapies. They help you eliminate all types of pain issues like headaches, back pain, chest pain, abdominal pain, leg pain and more. If your pain symptoms are minor, the doctor may discharge you the same day.
Ultimate Goal Of The Pain Clinics
It is all about offering you long-lasting relief from the pain and increasing your quality of life. Pain treatments at such healthcare facilities focus on preparing you to successfully manage your pain symptoms and get your life back to normal.
Many patients reported that pain management programs at such pain clinics helped them experience significantly less pain. With increased abilities to complete their everyday tasks, such programs kept them from emotional distress.
What Kinds Of Pain Do Your Pain Doctors Can Treat?
Usually, these doctors are experts in treating three types of pain. The first type of pain is a result of direct tissue injury. The arthritis pain falls in this category. The second type of pain is sourced from specific nervous system disease or nerve injury, such as stroke. Lastly, the third type of pain comes from both tissue and nerve injury like the back pain.
Let us see examples to understand these three types of pain.
Type 1: Pain Due To A Direct Tissue Injury
- Rheumatoid arthritis — It occurs due to autoimmune reaction and naturally felt in small joints such as wrists and fingers.
- Osteoarthritis — it occurs due to severe tissue injury and felt in the bigger joints such as hips, knees, etc.
Type 2: Pain Due To Nervous System Disorder Or Nerve Injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Multiple sclerosis
- Stroke (pain that occurs after a stroke)
- Neuropathy (pain that is related to HIV, shingles, diabetes)
Type 3: Pain Due To Both Nerve And Tissue Injury
- Neck pain
- Cancer-related pain
- Back pain
The procedures for all patients may vary. Your pain doctor decides the treatment plan based on your condition. However, the following steps are expected for most of the patients.
Finding Out The Root Cause Of Your Pain
It is impossible to set up the best treatment plan for your pain without diagnosing the cause of pain. Your pain doctor is trained to diagnose several causes of pain and identify the exact condition causing discomfort.
Pinpointing the source of pain is not as easy as it seems. Many types of pain exhibit similar symptoms, for example — the lower back pain. It can be musculoskeletal and occur due to irregular postures. It can also be due to spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, or herniated discs.
This is just one pain condition. There are many other examples like this. Fortunately, pain doctors are armed with multiple modern-day techniques to diagnose and treat various pain conditions. As long as your pain evaluation is concerned, they check your family medical history, access your lifestyle, conduct tests, or put you through some physical examinations.
Recommending Therapies That Can Offer Relief
Pain specialists have access to advanced physical therapies that offer relaxation for pain patients. If the conventional treatments haven’t worked in your favor till now, your pain doctor can conduct some trials and recommend advanced therapies. They know what’s best for you. Many great pain management doctors suggest interventional and pharmaceutical therapies, along with complementary therapies. This can help patients to lessen their doses of prescribed drugs.
Depending on your condition, a doctor may include the following in your treatment plan:
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
- Diet changes
- Weight loss
The prescribed medicines can include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
- Muscle relaxers
And, your treatment plan may also include interventional treatments like:
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Epidural steroid injections
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Nerve blocks
- Joint injections
Just one remedy can’t work as a complete cure for your pain. A great pain doctor knows how to mix the therapies and medicines to get the best treatment and maximize your quality of life.
In rare cases, you may have to undergo surgery. However, this happens only when the other methods haven’t worked, and your condition is severely affecting your everyday life.
A Thing To Know About Medicines
You should be careful about the medicines you take throughout the treatment program. And most importantly, your treatment should be entirely dependent on the medication only. If this is the case with you, see a different pain doctor.
During this time, you might see multiple doctors and all of them prescribe different medicines. Make sure you inform them all about the other doctor’s prescriptions to avoid dangerous drug interactions. Sometimes, two specific medications can harm your body, and therefore, avoiding such practices is smart.
What’s more, do not take more medicine than prescribed by the doctor. Otherwise, it can lead to some hazardous health problems or even overdose. If you think that your ongoing dose is not enough or does not help you heal, contact your doctor to discuss alternatives. It is highly imperative to frequently be in touch with your pain doctors for a safe and secure painkiller management plan.
You May Interact With Other Health Professionals
With every pain management program, you deal with different medical experts for various problems. Your pain doctor leads this team. For example, there will be scenarios when you have to deal with a counselor and therapist. This is how a comprehensive, holistic pain treatment plan is developed.
When your primary pain doctor decides specific therapies for you, he or she coordinates your treatment with other doctors and medical experts. You have to remember that you must be responsive and committed to the treatment so that everything goes well.
You Can Expect Some Interventional Procedures
When needed, you can undergo intentional procedures such as neuromodulation and steroid injections. Your pain doctor determines if you need this procedure or not, and it ultimately depends on your health condition.
As mentioned earlier, a great pain doctor combines such procedures and complementary therapies and medication to obtain the best results. A perfect combination minimizes the risks of side effects and improves your overall health.
Aftercare Is What You Will Always Need
It is sad but true that not all the patients can get the desired relief from the pain management programs. This is quite common with the patients of chronic knee or back pain, unfortunately. Most of the pain doctors believed even a 50 percent recovery as a success in such cases.
For this reason, good pain doctors will always continue working with you so that you can receive more relief. They also engage you with mental therapies such as meditation and talk therapy to reduce emotional distress.
When Should You See A Pain Doctor?
The following are the scenarios when visiting a pain doctor is a smart decision:
- When the pain is severe and debilitating.
- If you have already tried home remedies and therapies, but the pain won’t go away.
- If the pain has taken over your everyday life and prevents you from completing even simple activities.
- You are in pain for more than three months.
- Your primary care medical expert failed to diagnose your pain.
What Should You Bring While You Meet Your Pain Doctor For The First Time?
The doctor first diagnoses the root cause of your pain. Therefore, you should carry the following things with you:
- Prescriptions of your current medications.
- A pain journal (if you are maintaining one). This includes all the information, such as pain intensity, triggers, symptoms, and more.
- Insurance details.
- Information about what worsens your pain or provides relief.
- Your medical history.
Let us be realistic. If a pain doctor does not believe that you are in debilitating pain, avoid that clinic. Find a pain management facility that encourages you and get you the best recovery plan.
It is every great pain doctor’s job to take proper care of you and treat your chronic pain in the most empowering manner. There must be respect, care, compassion and consideration you deserve throughout the treatment.
So, make sure to find the right group of people for your ever-lasting recovery. Remember — Even though the pain is unavoidable at times, suffering is always optional.