There are many types of pain, and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. That’s why it’s important to understand the differences and work with a physician who specializes in pain medicine and pain management. Typically chronic pain lasts 3 months or longer and may be caused by conditions.
While you may know that physician anesthesiologists manage pain before, during and after surgery, you may not realize that some specialize in managing chronic pain. In fact, decades of research by physician anesthesiologists have led to the development of more effective treatments for chronic pain.
How is chronic pain diagnosed?
The pain medicine specialist will work with you and any other physicians, such as your primary care physician, surgeon or oncologist, depending on the source of your pain. While other physicians manage and treat your medical conditions such as arthritis or cancer, the pain medicine specialist is in charge of diagnosing and treating your pain.
Here are some things a pain medicine specialist may do:
Review your medical records, X-rays and other images.Perform a complete physical examination.Ask you to describe your pain, explain where it hurts, how long it has hurt and what makes the pain feel better or worse.Request the completion of a detailed questionnaire about the impact your pain is having on your life, how it interferes with your daily activities and what your treatment goals are.Order tests for diagnosis and treatment.
Most pain goes away. You recover from surgery. Your toothache gets treated. Your sprained ankle heals. That occasional headache responds to aspirin. These are examples of acute, or temporary, pain. Chronic pain is pain that won’t go away, lasting three months or longer. Examples include arthritis in your knees, back or neck that hurts most days; frequent migraine headaches; surgical pain that isn’t treated properly and lingers; and pain from muscle injuries that don’t heal correctly.
Other common causes of chronic pain are:
– Back and neck injuries
– Fibromyalgia and musculoskeletal pain
– Phantom limb pain (experienced by those who have had a limb amputated)
– Labor during pregnancy
– Injury at work or in a sports event
– Arthritis, Fibromyalgia
– Post surgery recovery
– Cancer and cancer treatment
– Myofascial pain syndrome
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