Pain Management is a confusing term. With so many options for treating legitimate pain how can patients know where to seek treatment for their specific pain?
Frederick, MD -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/08/2018 --Where Should You Seek Treatment For Your Pain?
Pain management is like a dirty word these days. With so much attention being brought to the opioid crisis, and rightly so, there have been countless articles, radio ads, and magazine features dedicated to the topic of "pain management". Naturally this attention has also created much confusion around what this term means. Pain management is actually a very broad term that includes a wide spectrum of medical professions and wide range of specialists and skill sets. It can include pill-mills where anyone with a license to prescribe can give out medications, to Primary Care physicians, Physical therapists, Chiropractors, Physical Medicine & Rehab physicians, Anesthesiologists, Neurosurgeons and Orthopedic Surgeons.
What are your options?
Primary care doctor: your primary care doctor is often the first person you think to make an appointment with for any ailment. In the case of pain these physicians are not equipped to solve any pain issue and may prescribe unnecessary medications in many cases they will and should refer you out to a specialist. In fact, a study published by the National Library of Medicine states, "In 2012, U.S. pharmacies and long-term care facilities dispensed 4.2 billion prescriptions, 289 million (6.8%) of which were opioids. Primary care specialties accounted for nearly half of all dispensed opioid prescriptions." [Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6034509/]
Depending on your insurance you may not need a referral to a specialist so don't waste the money on a copay and go directly to a pain specialist when you can.
What about alternative pain treatments like Chiropractic?
The Chiropractic industry is surrounded by a history of controversy assisted by aggressive marketing with claims that nearly any health condition can be cured by spinal manipulation. The basis for chiropractic is "subluxation" this effectively describes misalignment in the spine. There are many resources available online that discuss the pros, cons and controversies of Chiropractic a good source to start is https://www.painscience.com. However, Chiropractic is not always the best/ only alternative solution. Just like any treatment Chiropractic manipulation may help many patients in many cases, however, these treatments are not a cure-all despite the claims.
Chiropractic can actually worsen certain conditions for example osteoporosis, compression fractures of the spine, and conditions causing instability of the spine.
In these cases, interventional pain management has procedures to fill such gaps in chiropractic care. A good example of this is the kyphoplasty procedure. This procedure takes approximately one hour for each fractured vertebra. The procedure fills the fracture in the spine, restores stability and vertebral height and reduces or even eliminates pain by removing pressure on the impacted nerves.
One kyphoplasty patient states, "I had a compound fracture of L1 [lumbar spine]. I walked with a walker and slept on [the] sofa [I had] lost about 15lbs. Now [after kyphoplasty] I'm back to normal!"
A good interventional pain specialist will recommend a multi-modal treatment plan for many conditions. In many cases a treatment plan will include diet changes and physical therapy to restore movement and mobility.
However, for many patients nerve pain and damage can be so debilitating they are unable to reap the benefits of PT treatment until their pain is reduced. This is another reason receiving interventional procedures first helps patients get back on their feet sooner.
PM&R differs to an Anesthesiologist in interventional pain management. "For anesthesiologists, interventional procedures are the nuts and bolts of their training from day one of medical school" which is approximately 10 years including residency and fellowship. "However, in the case of PM&R these physicians are only exposed to such procedures in their fellowships (1-2 years)" states Dr. Jay Gonchigar, Medical Director of Newbridge Spine & Pain Center with 20 years of experience as an Anesthesiologist board-certified in the interventional pain field.
Often PM&R are not trained or comfortable performing certain types of procedures including procedures for the cervical spine (neck).
Patients with such conditions may get less effective treatments or medications they don't need if they aren't referred out to an Anesthesiologist trained in pain management.
Break free from the burden of pain. Pain is most effectively treated through a variety of treatments not just one. Factors contributing to a patients prolonged pain may include:
- Condition: What is causing the pain?
- Time: How long has the patient left their condition untreated?
- Is there permanent damage to nerves?
Avoiding treatment because it is perceived to be time consuming may lead to:
1) Need for prolonged treatment
2) Potential long-term damage
3) Risk of medication dependence as patients take "convenient" medications to mask pain
Learn more about minimally-invasive, cost and time-saving interventional pain management treatments at https://newbridgespine.com.