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Types of Pain Management

Doctors and Medical Specialties

Eighty-six million Americans suffer some type of pain each year. Pain management is the branch of medicine that takes a multi-disciplinary approach to treating the wide spectrum of symptoms and diseases that cause pain. Doctors that specialize in this field know and use different types of pain management. Types of pain management differ depending on the doctor or clinic, as there are no established standards that must be used. Some pain management doctors and clinics employ or consult with coordinating physicians, physical rehabilitation specialists, and psychiatrists. They may also include anesthesiologists, chiropractors, physiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and internal medical doctors.

Pain management deals with many different types of pain from headaches and body aches to pain following surgery and accidents. Doctors use methods that include medications, nerve blocks, surgery, physical therapy, exercise, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, psychiatric counseling, and other types of alternative medicine. Minimizing pain is the goal, rather than elimination, simply because it is often impossible to completely remove pain from certain conditions. Pain management doctors focus on improving function and quality of life.

Pain is classified as being acute or chronic. Acute pain is sharp and serves as a warning to the body that something has gone wrong. It generally lasts three to six months and develops into predictable patterns of pain and recovery. Surgical pain, broken bones, disease, dental work, childbirth, burns, cuts, and bruises are types of acute pain. Chronic pain lasts longer than six months and is difficult to treat. It ranges from muscle tension, reduced energy, changes in appetite, to depression, anger, and anxiety. Types of chronic pain include nerve dysfunction, severe soft tissue injury, degenerative disc disease, cancer pain, sciatica, arthritis, pain caused by psychological factors, and untreated diseases or injuries.

Since pain can be debilitating physically, psychologically, and socially, it is important to take care when choosing a pain management professional or group.

Pain Management Doctors Should :

  • Pain management professionals should be qualified and Board Certified.
  • Look for doctors and therapists who take a multi-disciplinary approach to make the widest range of therapies available to the patient.
  • A good pain management doctor or therapist should be friendly, understanding, and open to questions.
  • Pain management involves a team - look for professionals who work in conjunction with primary care physicians and experts in other fields.
  • Most of all, pain management professionals should approach treatment of pain with a positive and realistic attitude with the patient's needs in the forefront.

Related topics: Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Osteopathy

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