We define chronic pain as any pain lasting over 12 weeks. While acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain persists – often for months or years – and serves no purpose. For the millions of Americans suffering from chronic pain, daily life can become a struggle. Chronic pain makes it difficult to work, exercise, and socialize. It can negatively affect mood and mental health. Finding relief is critical. This is where a comprehensive pain clinic can make all the difference.
How Pain Clinics Help
Seeing a family doctor or general practitioner is often the first step. But for moderate-to-severe chronic pain, a dedicated pain clinic offers specialized expertise and a wider range of treatment options. There are several ways a comprehensive pain clinic can help chronic pain patients:
You will undergo a very thorough health history and physical exam. Doctors need a complete picture to determine what is causing pain. Diagnostic tests may include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, nerve conduction studies, and neurological exams. Getting the right diagnosis is the first step toward pain relief.
Pain clinics such as KindlyMD use a team of doctors, including anesthesiologists and specialists. They have advanced knowledge of pain medications. They can provide prescriptions for stronger NSAIDs, steroids, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, and opioids when appropriate. Referral to a pain physician may provide access to medical marijuana. A pain physician can determine if a medical marijuana card is indicated for chronic pain management.
Also known as pain injections, these include things like nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections into the spine, joint injections, and trigger point injections into muscle knots. Interventional procedures deliver medication directly to the source of pain. For conditions like spinal stenosis, herniated disks, and arthritis, injections can provide substantial relief.
Improving strength, flexibility, posture, and balance through guided exercise can reduce strain on painful joints. Therapeutic massage and modalities like heat and ice also help. A pain clinic can provide physical therapy on-site.
Things like acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, massage, and relaxation techniques complement traditional treatments. They help manage pain and improve function. A comprehensive pain clinic has specialists who can provide these services.
Behavioral Health Assistance
Living with constant pain is frustrating. It often leads to depression, anxiety, anger, and other issues. Psychologists and counselors at the pain clinic teach healthy coping strategies. Support groups connect patients who understand the challenges of chronic pain.
Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight are crucial for managing chronic pain. Inflammation can make pain worse. Following an anti-inflammatory diet with plenty of fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables and avoiding processed foods helps. Clinic nutritionists provide personalized eating plans.
The Multidisciplinary Approach
Perhaps the greatest benefit of a pain clinic is the multidisciplinary approach. You work with an entire team of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, psychologists, nutritionists and more. Together, they create a customized treatment plan to address all aspects of chronic pain. This holistic approach delivers optimal results.
If chronic pain is making your life miserable, know that you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are options for finding relief. Start with your primary care physician to get a proper diagnosis and initial treatment plan. Ask for referral to a comprehensive pain clinic if initial treatments are insufficient.
There, you gain access to specialists across disciplines who work together to reduce and manage pain. With the variety of medication, interventional, physical, psychological, and alternative therapies available at pain clinics today, most cases of chronic pain can be successfully treated. You can get back to fully participating in all that life has to offer.