Pain management is a branch of medicine that applies science to the reduction of pain. It covers a wide spectrum of conditions including neuropathic pain, sciatica, postoperative pain and more. Pain management is a rapidly growing medical specialty that takes a multi-disciplinary approach to treating all kinds of pain. Your doctor may refer you to pain management if she or he determines that your pain has become out of control.
Doctors who specialize in pain management recognize the complex nature of pain. Ideally, treatment at a pain clinic is patient centered, but in reality, this may depend on the available resources of the institution. Currently, there are no established standards for the types of disciplines that must be included, and this is another reason why treatment offerings will vary from clinic to clinic.
Other medical specialties represented in pain management are anesthesiology, neurosurgery, internal medicine and osteopathic manipulation. Your coordinating physician may also refer you for services from physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and spinal nerve injections.
While some types of pain come from primary sources such as headaches, and others from secondary sources such as from surgery, the field of pain management treats all of it as a disease. This allows for the application of science, and the latest advances in medicine to relieve your pain.
The goal of pain management is to minimize pain, rather than eliminate it. This is because quite often it is not possible to completely do away with it. Two other goals are to improve function and increase the quality of life. These three goals go hand-in-hand.
Back and neck pain sufferers who do best with a pain management program are those who have had multiple back surgeries, including failed surgeries, and are still in pain, those with neuropathy, and those for whom it has been determined that surgery would not benefit their condition.
According to Pain Physician, results from research studies on pain management are not always applicable to the problems patients come in with to the clinics on a day-to-day basis.