A 2010 U.S. survey found that about one third of the population (over 100 million people) suffered from chronic pain. A 2012 study estimated that the annual cost of chronic pain was as high as $635 billion a year. The most frequently reported chronic pain was attributed to lower back pain, followed by osteoarthritis pain.
What is Pain Management?
Individuals suffering from chronic pain have often been seen by many health care specialists. Chronic pain is best managed with a multidisciplinary approach. The typical pain management team may include medical practitioners, clinical psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, acupuncturists and massage therapists.
A variety of medications including analgesics are prescribed for pain management. Other medical interventions may include steroid injections, nerve blocks or spinal cord stimulators.
Living with chronic pain takes a toll on one’s physical and emotional health and also can put a burden on families, relationships and finances. Chronic pain itself causes depression, and elevated levels of depression sensitize one even more to pain, resulting in a vicious cycle of increasing pain and more depression.
As a member of your treatment team, I use a number of modalities in my practice to treat patients suffering from chronic pain. Guided imagery, biofeedback, stress reduction techniques and psychotherapy can all help a person manage pain better, and in some cases, can help a person overcome the condition contributing to the pain. Physical modalities such as CranioSacral therapy, SomatoEmotional Release and Lymphatic Drainage Therapy can often work wonders when nothing else has helped.
Patients are often disheartened when told by the medical profession that no cause of their pain can be found. I take all patient complaints of pain as real and work with them the best I can to improve their health and reduce their pain.