Pain management program can be set up after the initial visit to the pain management clinic. After the appropriate tests and examinations have been made to ascertain the cause of chronic pain, the next step is to create an individualized pain management program.
Depending on your needs, circumstances and preferences, and the cause of the pain, you may be offered one or more chronic pain treatments from various members of the management team.
Pain Management Program by Medication
Usually, medication is the first treatment prescribed before receiving other forms of treatment. Oral medication such as non-aspirin pain relievers, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), corticosteroids, opioids and anti-depressants may be prescribed.
Often medication on its own isn’t enough to treat chronic pain and other methods of treatment may need to be employed. Injections of local anesthetics, sometimes combined with corticosteroids, may be injected into muscles, nerve roots or joints to relieve muscle spasms, irritation and swelling. Nerve blocks also involve anesthetics, injected into a group of nerves to relieve pain.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
A physical therapist may prescribe a tailored rehabilitation exercise program to decrease pain and increase function. Hydrotherapy may be useful, involving water for pain relief and treatment. Whirlpool therapy is also an option providing a massage effect through water jets. Other physical therapy options include the use of ultrasound and therapeutic massage.
Electrical stimulation using a TENS device (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to stimulate the nerve fibers through the skin may be included in the program. This can interrupt pain signals, as can electro-acupuncture, spinal cord stimulation and acupuncture.
Micro current therapy (MENS) is used for muscle spasms, sports injuries and chronic pain. TDP lamps can help to accelerate healing processes by the use of far- infrared heat.
Occupational therapists can help with necessary changes to working and living lifestyles to improve independence if required. They can suggest equipment to help with mobility problems and adaptations to existing equipment.
Chiropractic Treatment as a Pain Management Program
Chiropractic therapy involving manual therapy and exercises may be included in the program. Cranio-sacral therapy is another possible option for treatment. Biopuncture (injecting with biologically active substances), hypnotherapy, homotoxicology and magnotherapy are alternative methods which may prove remedial.
Support and Counseling
Counseling plays a large part in pain management, as many people dealing with pain require extensive emotional support. Psychological support can be vital for those struggling with work and family issues due to unrelenting pain.
Mental health professionals can also teach self-help techniques such as relaxation training to reduce stress and relieve pain. Advice regarding lifestyle changes, nutritional support and dietary changes may be given. Detox treatments may be suggested.
As a last resort surgery may be required to relieve a problem causing pain. This is something the patient can discuss with the management team who will then be able to create a post surgery program.
Chronic pain is almost impossible to live with. A good pain management program and team for support will look at all the options to create a program designed to give you the best possible chance to lead a normal lifestyle in spite of chronic pain.