Insight Pain Management – Pain is a natural part of life. We all experience pain from injuries, headaches, and illnesses from time to time that eventually goes away and allows us to move on with life as normal. But if you are one of the 1 in 5 Americans experiencing debilitating pain that interrupts your quality of life and prevents you from working, enjoying hobbies, and spending time with family and friends, it may be time to see a pain management specialist.
A pain management specialist is a doctor with expertise in diagnosing, treating, and improving patient wellbeing using a conservative, multidisciplinary approach. Treatments often include a combination of medications, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, and alternative interventions like chiropractic care. This allows a pain management specialist to identify any underlying conditions a patient may be experiencing and ensure pain is being treated effectively without simply covering symptoms.
It is not uncommon for people experiencing chronic pain to put off getting care for a variety of reasons. Some people think their pain will eventually go away on its own or that they are exaggerating their symptoms. Others simply “grin and bear” their pain until it subsides or accept that they will be dealing with symptoms for the rest of their lives. However, there are many pain management resources available and pain management specialists are passionate about helping their patients find solutions so they can return to their pain-free lives.
If you are experiencing chronic pain and are unable to find relief or are unsure about your next steps, here are six signs it’s time to see a pain management specialist.
You Have Been In Pain For at Least 3 Months
If you have been experiencing an extended period of pain for at least three months, it may be time to see a pain management specialist. Pain management doctors specialize in all types of pain, including acute, chronic, neuropathic (nerve damage), nociceptive (tissue damage), and functional pain that occurs when there is no obvious injury or damage to the body. You should also see a specialist if your pain has decreased but is still present. This may be the result of medications masking symptoms without treating the root causes of the pain. On your first visit, a pain management doctor will perform a physical exam, discuss your medical history and symptoms, and may order additional testing in order to begin diagnosing and treating your condition.
You Can No Longer Perform Everyday Tasks
One of the most frustrating aspects of chronic pain is its tendency to disrupt daily tasks and routines. Simple activities like reaching and bending over, housework, personal care, and shopping can be difficult or even impossible for some people. If you are currently in pain or experience recurring pain that makes performing ordinary tasks difficult, a pain management specialist can help you address your symptoms, learn skills to better manage your pain, and even refer you to other specialists like physical and occupational therapists to help improve your range of motion and recovery.
You Experience Radiating Pain or Unusual Sensations
Chronic radiating pain or unusual sensations like numbness and tingling are all common signs it is time to see a pain management specialist. These symptoms are often signs of serious nerve damage or slipped discs that can worsen without the right treatment. As part of a multispecialty team, a pain management specialist can identify what is causing discomfort and begin a treatment plan to help you control pain and begin to heal.
Your Medication is No Longer Effective
Over the counter pain relievers are one of the first things people turn to when they experience chronic pain. Although these medications may provide short-term relief, they will not solve the underlying causes of your pain and will only end up delaying the recovery process. Long-term use of pain medications can also lead to other serious health issues and addiction when not used properly.
You Are Having Difficulty Sleeping
Pain and sleep are closely related. Trouble falling asleep or the inability to get a good night’s rest is another important indicator that it is time to see a pain management specialist. According to the National Sleep Foundation, chronic pain disturbs about 20 percent of all Americans at least a few nights a week. Researchers have found poor sleep quality causes heightened sensitivity to pain, higher risk of developing conditions that can cause chronic pain, and changes to the body’s pain threshold. However, quality sleep can improve chronic pain with the right care. A pain management specialist will help you determine what is causing sleep disturbances and provide treatments, tips, and coping strategies to help you get relief. They may also refer you to sleep and mental health specialists who can help you sleep better.
You Are Looking for Alternatives to Surgery
If surgery has been recommended to treat your chronic pain or if a previous surgery is what is causing your pain and you are reluctant to undergo another procedure, it may be a good idea to see a pain management specialist. Each year, thousands of people undergo nonessential surgeries that can lead to additional complications and unnecessary suffering. Pain management doctors often use a wide range of nonsurgical treatments such as medications and injections, as well as complementary treatments like physical therapy, to help people manage pain and begin properly treating the underlying causes of their condition.
If you are experiencing long-lasting pain, don’t hesitate to seek help from a pain management specialist. Pain management doctors focus on diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions causing chronic pain and are dedicated to improving patient wellbeing with safe and effective solutions. To learn more about Insight Pain Management and our services, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Q: What is the difference between a pain management specialist and other doctors?
A: Pain management specialists are physicians with additional training and experience in diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions causing acute or chronic pain.
Q: Can pain management doctors help me avoid surgery?
A: Pain management specialists take a conservative approach to treating pain, which helps speed up recovery and reduces the possibility of further complications. In addition to offering many nonsurgical treatments, they also work alongside other specialists like physical therapists to help patients find meaningful relief.
Q: How long does it take to diagnose and treat chronic pain?
A: There are many factors that go into diagnosing and treating chronic pain. Depending on your condition and symptoms, it can take time to begin experiencing relief. Your pain management doctor will discuss your symptoms and medical history, perform physical exams, and order testing such as blood work and imaging to thoroughly understand your condition and provide the best possible care.