Pain Management and Its Important Role in Healthcare

Pain management and its important role in healthcare

Physical pain can develop for a variety of reasons, and this pain may be sudden and temporary (acute) or last longer with no foreseeable end to the suffering (chronic). Chronic pain is a major problem for some people, and pain management therapy has offered relief to many sufferers.

When an injury happens, pain normally subsides as the body heals, but the pain may be ongoing if nerve damage occurs or because of other factors that are not always easy to identify. Chronic pain is often more common among people who suffer back or spinal injuries. Some people also experience long-lasting pain after they undergo surgery. Certain medical conditions, such as sciatica, fibromyalgia and arthritis, can additionally contribute to the onset of chronic pain.

To address the issue of chronic pain better, some doctors have chosen to specialize in pain management to try to put an end to the suffering that many people with this problem experience.  

Pain management solutions

Fortunately, advancements in pain management research have led to the development of different treatments that have offered relief to many patients. Pain management specialists may recommend one or more of these treatments depending on each patient’s specific symptoms and overall health status.

Doctors usually recommend conservative treatments, such as over-the-counter medicine, prescription medications or physical therapy, as a first line of defense against pain. Conservative treatments often work especially well at treating acute pain. However, more advanced treatments may be needed if the initial treatments have failed to yield the desirable results.

Ultrasound injections of peripheral joints and other common areas where pain is felt are non-invasive and have been particularly effective at reducing pain and inflammation and improving joint mobility. Dr. Jordan Sudberg and other pain management specialists who offer this treatment are able to use ultrasound technology to guide the needle to painful areas of the body and inject pain medicine to provide targeted therapy with greater precision.

A surgical implant may also relieve chronic pain if other treatments have been ineffective. An infusion pump can be surgically implanted to provide pain medicine directly to areas from where pain is likely originating. Another implant option is a spinal cord stimulator, which works by emitting tiny electrical impulses to interfere with pain signals that are sent to the brain.

Improved quality of life

Pain often limits physical activities and can even make doing certain tasks impossible. With successful pain management treatment, people are often able to walk, play sports, and engage in other forms of exercise with greater mobility and little to no pain. Grocery shopping, home cleaning, and other day-to-day tasks can also be managed better once pain is under control. People who can no longer work or go to school full-time because of lingering pain may finally be able to lead more productive lives once their symptoms are alleviated.

Sleep can also be improved if chronic pain is no longer an issue. Sleep deprivation that results from chronic pain can impair cognitive functioning and cause mood swings. When chronic pain persists, research shows that the pain can actually intensify at night as cortisol levels in the body drop during periods of rest, which can further interfere with sleep. The chances of catching communicable illnesses or developing more serious health problems also increase if pain is getting in the way of sleeping properly. These and other problems that are associated with sleep deprivation can often be resolved with the best pain management methods.

In addition to physical health, pain management has played an important role in mental health. Chronic pain often contributes to the onset of anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, and finding ways to manage the pain can improve a person’s mental health and quality of life even more. People who struggle with drug or alcohol addictions in addition to chronic pain are often more inclined to start abusing harmful substances again as a way to self-medicate, and effective pain management therapy may prevent relapses. 

A better relationship between doctors and patients

Pain management can also help to bridge the gap that sometimes exists between doctors and patients. Sufferers of chronic pain may develop better trust in their healthcare providers if these doctors can find successful ways to treat pain. People who are fearful about undergoing certain medical procedures can feel more at ease if pain management solutions are available to address any lingering pain or discomfort that might arise. When patients have experienced good outcomes with pain management therapy, they may also be more willing to discuss other health issues with their doctors, which may prevent the onset or progression of certain conditions and keep chronic pain from returning.

Pain management treatment has helped many people reclaim their lives, and the right solution could hold the key to a brighter future. Researchers are still working to develop other pain management treatments that may improve patient outcomes even more.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.