What is pain management?
Pain management utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to easing suffering and improving the quality of life of those living with chronic pain. The typical pain management team includes medical practitioners, mental health professionals, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and nurse practitioners. Pain sometimes resolves promptly once the underlying trauma or pathology has healed, and is treated with drugs that target the specific condition. Effective management of long term pain frequently requires the coordinated efforts of a pain management team.
What are the categories of pain?
Somatic pain is described as squeezing and sharp or dull and aching, and is readily located by the patient.
Visceral pain is characterized as a deep, pressure-type sensation that is poorly localized; it may be diffuse and/or squeezing.
Neuropathic pain is described as a severe, burning, vise-like grip, or a tingling sensation with an electric shock component
Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists beyond the expected healing phase. The patient often begins to manifest psychological dysfunction, economic distress, and progressive physical deconditioning.
When should a patient seek a pain specialist?
Pain specialist referral should be considered when:
- The treating physician cannot effectively control the patient’s pain due to injury or illness.
- The patient requires medication the treating physician is not comfortable prescribing.
- The patient develops a severe pain syndrome that is not responding to conventional treatment.
- A specialist in the following approaches is needed: medical management, rehabilitation-focused, injection-focused, and psychological-based.