Living with pain problems is not a walk in the park. Not only does pain affect your day-to-day activities, but it can also negatively impact your career, relationships, and overall quality of life. While you can quickly remedy some pain problems with over-the-counter pain relievers, chronic pain is a different issue since it is persistent and lasts for months.
In some cases, one can even experience chronic pain for years. A study from the National Institute of Health found that almost two-thirds of individuals with chronic pain almost two-thirds still suffer a year later. To reduce pain and discomfort, seeking help from a random medical expert and someone specializing in chronic pain is essential.
You must consult a pain management specialist to help you understand and address the pain issue. But how exactly can they help you cope with chronic pain? Here is everything you need to know about a pain management specialist’s role in changing the course of chronic pain.
What They Do
According to Oklahoma Interventional Spine & Pain specialist Dr. Brandon Claflin, a pain management specialist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats people who are experiencing pain problems. After evaluating your pain, they will develop a tailored treatment plan to reduce or manage pain. Apart from chronic pain, these specialists treat other pain issues, such as low back pain and headaches. They also help manage pain brought about by certain health conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
Ideally, pain management doctors will offer a treatment plan that combines medication with various non-invasive procedures. Surgery is often the last option; only specific conditions recommend this treatment. After surgery, you may have to work with a pain management specialist to deal with post-operative pain.
What Treatments do Pain Management Specialists Provide?
Pain management doctors prescribe different treatments depending on the severity of your pain and your body’s response to procedures. For instance, a specialist may recommend steroid injections to block specific nerves causing low-grade but persistent pain, such as low back pain. They may also prescribe medication, such as muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories, to help reduce pain, stiffness, and discomfort.
A typical treatment plan may also include exercise and physical therapy, so you can expect your pain management specialist to closely collaborate with a physical or occupational therapist to provide the best solutions. They may also work closely with your primary healthcare provider if a different medical condition brings about your pain.
What to Expect From Your First Consultation
Some people prefer to keep their pain problems to themselves because they do not think it is worth going to the doctor. Meanwhile, some hesitate to see a professional because they do not know what to expect during their first consultation.
If you need help managing your pain, know that a pain management specialist is not there to judge you; instead, they help you lose the pain and live your best life. They will ask you about your history of pain, so try to pinpoint when it started, how severe it gets, and how often you experience it in a week. You will undergo a physical exam or need blood work, x-rays, or MRIs at the laboratory.
Once the specialist can determine the root cause of your pain, they will discuss a treatment plan with you. Do not hesitate to ask questions, and take notes if it will help you keep track of all the information.
A pain management specialist can help you live a pain-free life, and seeking guidance is an excellent way to avoid unnecessary treatments. Being proactive about your health can help you live a better, pain-free, and happier life, so consult an expert as soon as possible.