Improving quality of life
Pain is the most common symptom that brings a patient to the hospital. Pain also interferes with the quality of life, ability to work, and perform simple activities like walking, exercising and sleeping comfortably. Generally people neglect their health by continuing to ignore their body’s signals and bear the pain till it becomes chronic and severe.
Pain management is a new branch of modern medicine that addresses all aspects of ‘pain’. This is an emerging specialty in India, but it has been around in Western countries for a few decades now. India has a burgeoning population of elderly patients and patients with chronic diseases like Diabetes, Arthritis and Backache. In addition, Cancer is on the rise in the population. Many patients continue to suffer pain in spite of medical or surgical treatment.
What happens if the pain is not treated?
Pain is a signal that tells the body that something is wrong. Chronic pain affects the personal and professional life of the patient making the patient irritable, sad or depressed. The patient may take expensive painkillers continuously without medical guidance and experience side effects like acidity and other reactions. In addition, the patient may not be able to exercise, have gradual weight gain and a rise in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Thus, pain is a ‘Disease’ that affects both the patient and the family.
What is the solution?
Chronic pain must be treated as early as possible with a combination of medicines, pain blocks, lifestyle modifications, counselling and education to prevent further worsening. It is important to know that pain can be reduced, and in many cases, completely cured.
What is a pain clinic? How does palliative care services help?
A pain clinic is a highly specialised centre where patients suffering from any kind of pain are assessed and treated using various techniques. Many patients who have incurable illnesses may experience great discomfort and pain during the last stages. This affects the patient and the family. Palliative care is based on the philosophy that every patient deserves dignity, comfort and care, no matter what the stage of the illness is.
Is there a standard treatment for all the patients with pain?
Treatment is tailor made for every patient after a thorough medical check up. Chronic pain may be reduced with the latest specialised injections or interventions called Pain Blocks. Once the pain is reduced, it is followed by a treatment plan comprising of medicines, exercises, diet and long term lifestyle modifications that will bring permanent relief from the much suffered pain so that you and your loved ones can enjoy the best possible quality of life.
What is a pain block?
If you have been referred for a Pain Block, it means you will be treated by an injection around the specific nerve responsible for your pain. These injections are done under local anaesthesia, usually in an operation theatre. There is almost 100% accuracy because the exact point of injection is confirmed using either X-ray, Ultrasound or CT scan guidance.
Further, we have advanced pain blocks like Radiofrequency Ablation, Nucleoplasty, Spinal Cord Stimulators, Intrathecal Pumps, etc., which may be used in specialised pain conditions like Post Back Surgery Pain Syndrome, Trigeminal Neuralgia and Advanced Cancer Pain.
The injections or the pain blocks will help to relieve pain significantly. Once pain relief is achieved, it is easier to do exercises and rehabilitation that will promote weight loss, good health and recovery to a full and normal life.
Are these injections harmful?
These injections are given with utmost care, and due to their accuracy, and standards of safety, there are no major risks involved. As the recovery from these injections is quite fast, these injections also reduce hospital stay and encourage faster return to normal life. These procedures are given as per international standard with good scientific evidence to justify them. Besides, these procedures are affordable and inexpensive.
Are these injections only a temporary measure for relief?
Most back, neck and knee problems in modern society are caused by bad posture, obesity, stress and lack of exercise. These problems arise due to lifestyle disorders. There is no magic medicine to correct stress, bad posture, poor eating and exercise habits.
However, due to these factors once pain sets in, most patients cannot exercise or lose weight. They are trapped in this cycle of pain and inability to recover. In such cases, a pain block reduces the pain and allows the patient to do the right exercises to lose weight, correct the posture and become healthy and fit again. This is our goal.
The other patients who need pain blocks are the elderly. Many old patients have heart problems, kidney diseases, liver problems and so on. They might not be able to tolerate painkillers, or they may simply not be fit for surgery. Such patients had no choice earlier, but to suffer due to pain in their old age. However, pain blocks in such patients reduce the pain significantly and allow them to lead a life without suffering, with dignity and independence.
What are the common pains managed by a pain clinic?
The list of pains that are managed in our pain clinic are as follows:
Low back pain
Headache / Migraine
Knee pain and Joint pains
Post operative pain
Nerve pain (Neuropathic pain) like Diabetic neuropathy
Sports injury pains
Post stroke pains
Any pain with more than 1-3 months duration, not relieved by medicines or exercises
Will a person still required to take painkillers?
Our aim is to find the best combination of medicine, exercise, pain blocks (when required) and lifestyle modification that will make sure your pain is managed permanently. Painkillers form a very minor part of our treatment, and they are used only if necessary.
Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital has come up with one of the first Multidisciplinary Pain Clinics in the private sector in Mumbai. The Pain Clinic is modelled on international guidelines and has the-state-of-art equipment required for performing advanced treatments. We have a dedicated team with two Pain Physicians (Fellowship trained Anaesthesiologist and Fellowship trained Rehabilitation Medicine Specialist), Clinical Psychologists, Pain Nurses, Dietician, Social Worker, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists. In addition, our Full Time Specialist System (FTSS) gives our patients access to all the top specialties, thus, delivering the best possible standard of care for such patients under one roof. Our aim is to manage and relieve the pain and distress in a large group of patients who have not had access to Specialty Pain Clinics in the past.
Palliative Care Services at our hospital offer symptom relief in addition to education and training of the patients and their caregivers. Patients with advanced end stage diseases can be kept pain-free with medicines or pain blocks. High quality nursing and psychological care looks after their comfort. Such patients can spend their final moments with loved ones with dignity, comfort and avoid unnecessary suffering.
Our goal is not just to reduce physical suffering and pain. We aim to empower our patients and their caregivers with knowledge, confidence and support required to lead their lives without suffering, with minimal discomfort, courage and dignity, thus improving their ‘Quality of Life.’ No one should suffer from pain when safe, scientific and specialised treatment options are available because the Quality of Every Life Matters.
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