Know Your Pain Treatment Options. When To See A Pain Doctor.
Pain can be a debilitating condition, but there are ways to keep it under control. Learn about different options pain doctors utilize.
Whether your pain is from arthritis, cancer treatments, fibromyalgia, or an old injury, you need to find a way to get your pain under control. What’s the best approach to do that?
The first step in pain management is scheduling an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause of your pain and learn which pain management approach is often the most effective for it. There are many different pain management options available: You can find the right treatment combination to get the relief you need.
Before you try to treat your pain, it’s important to understand how pain is defined.
“The International Association for the Study of Pain came up with a consensus statement,” says Judith Scheman, PhD, program director of the Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience. I think that’s extraordinarily important. When we focus only on the sensory aspect, we fail to appreciate the suffering component of the pain, which is important to recognize because pain is not what occurs at the periphery.”
Why Do People Experience Pain Differently?
Pain is real and it’s physical — there’s no mistaking that. But pain is measured and specific to one person based on that person’s perception of the pain, and that’s why everyone’s pain is different.
“What the brain perceives is indisputably modifiable by emotions,” notes Scheman. That means that people who are fearful of pain, depressed, or anxious may experience pain differently, and perhaps more severely, than someone who has pain but isn’t experiencing those other emotions.
Pain Management: Treating Mind and Body
Scheman stresses the importance of approaching pain both physically and emotionally and addressing “people as entire human beings.” So while chronic pain medication can be effective and important for pain management for many people, it isn’t the only tool available when it comes to pain treatment, and it shouldn’t be the only tool that’s used.
The bottom line
Seek help for your pain as soon as it becomes a problem in your life. “We aren’t guaranteed lives without pain,” says Scheman. But when chronic pain starts to destroy your ability to function in the world, then it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.