Pain Management
Last Edited: April 10th, 2012

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Pain Management

Pain management is an area of medicine that deals with physicians improving the quality of life for those dealing with pain. There are various types of people involved with pain management including medical and nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists and more. Much of the management style will have to do with the amount of pain that a patient is in as well as what caused it.

Pain Management Practitioners

All fields of medicine are involved with pain management because pain can stem from virtually any part of the body. Therefore it’s necessary for all fields of medicine to understand how to recognize and treat pain within a patient. Once the pain has been diagnosed, it may then be necessary to recommend a patient to a specialist to get individualized care.

A complete package of care may need to be provided by a team of medical specialists. Practitioners may focus on pharmaceutical methods of treatment as well as physical therapy and psychological measures. As a result, medical doctors may also enlist the help of occupational therapists, clinical psychologists and even chiropractors to provide a viable solution for a patient.

Causes of Pain

There is no gender or age group that is immune from pain. The causes of pain can vary dramatically from a birth defect to an injury to a debilitating disease. Pain may continue to worsen with age or increased activity. Pain management is used as a way of helping a person to cope with the pain and regain a fairly normal life prior to when the pain was established.

Pain management may be eliminated when the trauma or underlying pathology has healed. This means that until then, drugs and physical therapy may be used. This will simply allow the patient to reduce the level of pain until the area of the body that has been affected has had the opportunity to heal properly.

When there is long term or chronic pain, however, the pain management may be ongoing. This is done to provide a higher quality of life for the patient, potentially for the duration of the patient’s life. This usually involves an entire pain management team to assist with the efforts.

Types of Treatment

One of the most common forms of pain management comes in the form of medications. The type of medication used will greatly depend on the patient, the level of pain as well as the area of the body that is being treated. Acetaminophen is commonly prescribed for mild pain while a NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) will be prescribed if the pain goes into a moderate level. Moderate to severe pain is likely going to involve the use of Oxycodone or morphine.

Other forms of treatment can fall under physical approaches. This includes using nerve ablation, pulsed radiofrequency as well as physical rehabilitation. There are all sorts of techniques that can be used to help treat pain depending on the source. Electrical nerve stimulation has been effective with lower back pain and neuropathy while acupuncture has been able to assist with pain across the entire body.

Even psychological approaches have helped with pain management. A doctor may prescribe behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy as well as hypnosis.