Pain Management

Feb 24th, 2020

Are you always in pain?

Does pain rule your life?

Does it limit your personal and professional life?

Pain can be debilitating and frustrating. It may interfere with sleep, work, activities and quality time with friends and family. Globally, it is estimated that about one in five, or about 1.5 billion people, suffer from chronic pain. Pain management provides relief so you can lead a normal life. But pain management can be complex and needs specialists for correct diagnosis and safety monitoring.

Types of Pain

The occurrence of pain rises as people get older, and women are more likely to experience pain than men.

There are two main types of pain.

  • Acute Pain – a normal response to an injury. It starts suddenly and is usually short-lived.
  • Chronic Pain – continues beyond the time expected for healing. It generally lasts for longer than three months.

Pain may be anything from a dull ache to a sharp stab and can range from mild to extreme. You may feel pain in one part of your body or it may be widespread. Studies suggest that a person’s emotional wellbeing can impact the experience of pain. Understanding the cause and learning effective ways to cope with your pain can help improve your quality of life.

Pain Management Specialist

A pain management specialist is a physician with special training in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain. Pain is a wide spectrum of disorders including acute pain, chronic pain, and cancer pain and sometimes a combination of these. As the field of medicine learns more about the complexities of pain, it has become more important to have physicians with specialized knowledge and skills to treat these conditions. An in-depth knowledge of the physiology of pain, the ability to evaluate patients with complicated pain problems, understanding of specialized tests for diagnosing painful conditions, appropriate prescribing of medications to varying pain problems, and skills to perform procedures (such as nerve blocks, spinal injections and other interventional techniques) are all part of what a pain management specialist uses to treat pain.

Causes of Pain

Here are the most common conditions when pain management is needed:

  • Cancer pain.
  • Post-operative pain.
  • Low back pain.
  • Neck pain.
  • Headache / Migraine.
  • Knee pain and joint pains.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Sports injury pains.
  • Post-stroke pains.
  • Any pain with more than 1-3 months duration, not relieved by medicines or exercises.
How is Pain Treatment Guided?

The treatment of pain is guided by the history of the pain, its intensity, duration, aggravating and relieving conditions, and structures involved in causing the pain. Pain management has a role in identifying the precise source of the problem and isolating the optimal treatment.

Pain Management Techniques

Pain management can be simple or complex, depending on the cause of the pain. Sometimes it requires a variety of skills and techniques to treat the pain. Key pain management strategies include:

  • Pain-relieving medicines.
  • Physical therapies such as heat or cold packs, massage or hydrotherapy.
  • Psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Interventional procedures.
  • Physical therapy or chiropractic therapy.
  • Psychological counselling and support.
  • Acupuncture and other alternative therapies.
Pain Medicines

Many people will use pain medicine (analgesic) at some time in their lives. This may be paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, local anaesthetics or some antidepressants.

Pain Block

A pain block is a treatment by 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.

Meet specialists at our Department of Pain Management and Palliative Care. They are equipped with advanced pain blocks like Radiofrequency Ablation, Nucleoplasty, Spinal Cord Stimulators, Intrathecal Pumps, etc., which help treat specialised pain conditions like Post Back Surgery Pain Syndrome, Trigeminal Neuralgia and Advanced Cancer Pain.

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