General Information & Tips
What is Pain Management?
Pain management provides various treatment options to overcome different types of pain. The treatments may include medications, physical rehabilitation and psychological counselling, among others.
At what Stage should I Consult a Doctor for Pain?
Pain may be due to various reasons. Pain caused by injuries or surgeries are not long lasting and decrease as the wound heals. Persistent or long-lasting pain requires treatment. If your pain lasts even after wound healing and the current medications aren’t helping, you will have to consult a doctor to manage your pain.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is pain which lasts for longer than a month even after recovery from an injury. This pain remains constant and may cause hindrance in your daily activities.
How do I Describe my Pain to my Doctor?
Each one describes pain in his/her own way. You can tell your doctor in detail regarding your pain – where it is located and the nature of the pain. Your doctor may also ask you to fill a questionnaire which helps you to describe and rate your pain on a scale.
How is your Pain Diagnosed?
Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on the history of the pain you have narrated such as type of pain – whether sharp or dull aching pain, duration and location of pain.
There are various diagnostic techniques used to find the cause of pain, and some of them include:
- Electro diagnostic procedures:
- Electromyography (EMG): helps to find out which muscles or nerves are affected by weakness or pain
- Nerve conduction studies: determine if there is any nerve damage
- Evoked potential (EP): used to record the speed of nerve signals sent to the brain
- Imaging, especially magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is the use of magnetic waves to differentiate diseased and healthy tissues.
- A neurological examination involves testing for movement, reflexes, sensation, balance, and coordination.
What are the Common Treatments for Pain?
The ultimate goal of pain management is to improve the function of an individual by enabling him to carry out his day-to-day activities in a normal way. Pain management involves treatment of the underlying disease and pain relief using medications and alternative techniques.
The many ways by which pain can be treated include:
- Medications: Some of the medications that can relieve pain include NSAIDs, narcotic analgesics (relieve acute pain, such as pain that is felt immediately following an injury or a surgical procedure), antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, antimigraine drugs and anesthesia. These medications should be taken only on doctor’s advice as they can cause serious adverse effects.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy involves use of physical techniques and methods, such as exercise, massage and acupuncture, in the treatment of certain chronic pain conditions. These techniques help to increase function, control pain, and rehabilitate the patient. Regular exercises relieve stress and also increase the production of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.
- Psychological evaluation and therapy: Psychological counselling such as behavioral therapy improves your mental health and manages conditions such as stress and depression which can aggravate chronic pain. It is important to be physically as well as emotionally stable to manage chronic pain.
When should I take my Pain Medication?
It is always better to take pain medication at the first onset of pain or when the pain is mild. To relieve pain more effectively, do not wait till it aggravates before taking your medication. Follow your doctor’s orders regarding frequency and duration.
Are there any Chances of getting Addicted to Pain Medications?
Addiction mainly depends on your likelihood of becoming addicted based on your family history of addiction. If medications are taken as prescribed there is less chance of addiction to narcotic medications. Feel free to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
What can I do to Avoid Worsening of Pain?
Pain may worsen with certain activities. If you notice an activity contributes to or aggravates your pain, you can avoid it or medications can be taken prior to performing such activities. You can also ask your doctor for instructions on the best ways to deal with the worsening pain.