Acute vs. Chronic Pain | About Pain Management | When To Seek Help
Pain Management Options | Recovery and Results | Where To Start
What is the difference between acute pain and chronic pain?
Acute pain is of short duration, and arrives suddenly such as an injury, illness or other physical trauma. Acute pain is usually resolved fairly quickly with simple over-the-counter medications, or with prompt medical attention.
Chronic pain is ongoing and can be caused by any number of physical ailments caused by injury, aging, disease or other physical catalysts. Chronic pain is usually relieved only after diagnosis and treatment by a medical professionl.
What is pain management and pain care?
Pain management and pain care are general terms for any of the medical treatments which may be used to minimize, control or eliminate physical pain. More specifically, this could mean the introduction of one or more options including pharmaceutical pain control for short term pain, physical therapy, and endoscopic or open surgery to repair injuries to muscles, cartilage, tendons, nerves or bones.
When should you seek medical help?
If your pain can accuratelybe described as “chronic”, and is causing you problems in your daily life, then you should at least talk with a pain management specialist. Pain is your body’s way of alerting you that it needs help. Trying to “tough it out” (ignore your body’s signal for help) can often cause the injury to become more severe, and ultimately cause even more pain or even death (i.e., ignoring early pains from an undiagnosed cancer).
What are some pain management and pain care options?
When you mention pain management many people first think of pain pills and worry about addiction. Fortunately, there are many options with far better results, minimal risks, and that can deliver a real solution. Minimal pains can sometimes be resolved with specific exercises and physical therapy, problems with joints and bones may require periodic injections or minimally invasive endoscopic surgery, while major problems may require open surgery. There are many other treatment options which fall under these general descriptions. Your pain management doctor will guide you to the best option for your condition.
What are recovery times and results from pain management?
The recovery times for, and results from, any type of pain management or pain care treatment(s) vary depending upon the patients general health, the severity of the problem, and other factors. Many patients return to their normal routine within weeks of treatments and find that their pain is soon gone. Patients with severe injuries, or much older patients, may get significant improvements but still have some lingering issues. Every situation has unique challenges and opportunities.
Where do I start to get help for my pain?
If your condition has not improved on its own, or with the help of your primary care physician, you should ask your physician for a referral to our practice. One of our pain management doctors will meet with you to discuss your situation, and work with you to move forward with a proper diagnosis and then advise you on pain management or treatment options. Most medical insurance plans will have coverage for these services.
Pain Management Options
When feasible, the use of non-invasive non-drug treatments is highly preferred because these treatments often allow for exceptional results with virtually no risks, they are relatively easy to administer, and patients are not burdened with a discernable recovery time. Examples of non-invasive non-drug treatments are specific exercises, massage or manual manipulation done as part of a physical therapy program, electrotherapy, behavioral modification, cutaneous stimulation and patient education to avoid reinjury. These treatments are often used to improve recovery times from surgeries.
Although sometimes necessary, pharacologic treatments can be somewhat problematic due to the risk of addiction, need for progressiely stronger medications and drug abuse. Pain relief medications mask the problem but do not provide a true remedy to the root cause of the pain. Additionally, prolonged use of certain pharmaceutical products can lead to serious physical or mental side effects. Examples of pharmaceutical treatments include antidepressants (i.e., Xanax, Lorazepam, etc.), anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e., Ibuprofen, Cortisone, etc.), COX-2 inhibitors (i.e., Celebrex, etc.), non-narcotic analgesics (i.e., Acetiminophen, etc.), and narcotic analgesics or opioids (i.e., Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Demerol, Oxycodone, etc.)
Invasive pain management includes treatment options which involve the use of instruments or devices, possibly combined with solutions or chemical agents such as steroids. Examples include Radiofrequency Radioablation, Prolotherapy, Simple Injections, Infusion Pumps, Electrical Stimulators and Accupuncture. (Our doctors do not offer accupuncture).