One of the greatest challenges people with chronic pain syndrome face is access to appropriate care. Although chronic pain disables more than 50 million Americans, chronic pain sufferers are among the most undertreated patients in the United States. Pain is considered a subjective experience and it is hard to quantify or validate by standard medical tests.
According to The National Pain Foundation, pain accounts for 80 percent of all physician visits, yet sufferers are often shuffled from one health care provider to another without finding any relief.
“Pain patients wrongly believe that pain is something they must accept as part of their lives – that it’s associated with their injury, that it’s part of their disease or that it’s a natural part of growing older,” said Dr. Robert L. Tiso of the New York Pain Center. “What they need to realize is that pain isn’t something they have to accept. They can find relief with proper pain management.”
A pain physician may recommend patients to take control of their pain by researching pain and pain management options and by seeking a referral to a pain specialist who knows how to treat pain effectively.
Pain Specialists Key To Chronic Pain Management
Pain management physicians, or pain specialists, focus on the evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of people in pain. Some pain physicians work with one specific treatment while others are multidisciplinary and offer a number of different treatments, which range from medication management to advanced therapies like spinal cord stimulation.
Several resources are available to help patients find a pain physician and learn about treatment options. The provides support and education in pain management. And there is the American Pain Society, which is, according to its website, a multidisciplinary community that brings together a diverse group of scientists, clinicians and other professionals to increase the knowledge of pain and transform public policy and clinical practice to reduce pain-related suffering.
In addition to the national pain associations, there may be a local support group, perhaps specific to your medical condition, that you can seek out to find area resources and physicians. The best way to locate this group may be through your regional medical center or local hospital.
Your Appointment With A Pain Physician
Once you have located a pain physician, there are several steps you can take to prepare for your visit:
* Check to see that the pain provider is in your insurance network.
* Find out if the pain clinic requires a referral.
* Write out a description of your pain and the factors that increase or decrease it.
* Gather your medical records for your visit.
“The best advice I have for other pain suffers is to seek specialized help,” said Michelle Revello, chronic pain sufferers who are treated effectively by a pain management specialists. “We all call in expert help for trivial household inconveniences like a leaky sink. We should all do the same for our bodies.”