11 Jun A Different Approach to Pain Management
Chronic pain treatment has changed in recent years. Pain management doctors are beginning to use more holistic, patient-centered treatment plans to manage pain symptoms. This shift shows a different approach to pain management that considers the whole patient, with an emphasis on health and wellness. Understanding this approach can help you learn more about your own chronic pain diagnosis and ways to control your pain levels.
What is chronic pain?
Most people have heard of chronic pain. Perhaps you or someone you know has been diagnosed. However, just because most people have heard of chronic pain doesn’t mean it’s well understood. In fact, many misunderstand or brush aside chronic pain. Many may not understand this diagnosis because of the persistent and harmful stigma surrounding chronic pain patients. But, chronic pain is a real diagnosis with physical, emotional and psychological side effects. So, what is it exactly?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for weeks, months or years. Persistence of symptoms is the main factor for diagnosis. Experts don’t know exactly what causes chronic pain, though it usually originates from an illness or injury. Conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve damage or migraines can also cause chronic pain.
Traditional approaches to chronic pain treatment
Traditionally, treatment of chronic pain has focused on managing symptoms with medication. It’s important to manage symptoms and sometimes medication needs to be prescribed to patients. However, there is growing concern over the American opioid epidemic. In 2017 alone, 191 million opioid prescriptions were prescribed to patients in America. In order to combat this epidemic, pain management physicians can utilize holistic and lifestyle-based treatments to manage chronic pain.
Holistic approach to pain management
A holistic approach to chronic pain management focuses on your overall wellness. This means that the whole patient is considered when making treatment decisions, not just their physical pain. We know pain isn’t just a physical sensation–it’s also emotional and psychological. Living with chronic pain can be stressful and disheartening. This can lead to higher rates of depression and anxiety in pain patients. That’s why we have to address all aspects of your health to manage your chronic pain. This means incorporating holistic treatment options like nutrition, exercise and behavioral health care.
Exercise for pain management
We all know we need to exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of physical activity every week. This means 30 minutes of exercise for 5 days of the week. However, for those with chronic pain, exercise can be especially important. Inactivity can lead to stiff muscles, which can lead to decreased strength and mobility.
Exercises like yoga can help increase flexibility and motion, which can help keep you limber and strong. Walking is also a great form of exercise and doesn’t require equipment. Whatever your activity of choice, it’s important to remember to exercise weekly. Even minimal activity can help to keep you active, which can help decrease chronic pain.
Be sure to stop immediately if exercise makes your chronic pain worse, and always consult a doctor before starting a new fitness regime.
Nutrition for pain management
Did you know that inflammation can make pain worse? It can cause damage to the body and limit mobility and the ability to perform daily activities. Diets high in processed foods can increase inflammation in the body and reduce the body’s natural healing abilities. In contrast, a balanced diet is essential to limiting inflammation in the body, and this includes eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which can increase antioxidant compounds. Good nutrition and proper hydration can help reduce inflammation, easing chronic pain.
Behavioral health for chronic pain patients
It is important to understand that chronic pain is not just physical. Instead, it is often accompanied by mental, emotional and psychological side effects. Those with chronic pain may be more likely to experience conditions like depression and anxiety. And, they are not alone. Almost 44 million Americans experience some form of mental illness, though the majority don’t seek treatment because of the stigma.
The chronic pain and mental illness stigma are common in America. Some patients fear that their physicians or others may think they are making up their pain. This stigma that pain is “all in a patient’s head” is a destructive and hurtful one, particularly for those with debilitating chronic pain. Talking with others and behavioral health specialists can help decrease the stigma and increase understanding of chronic pain.
A different approach to pain
At The Pain Management Group, we take a different approach to the treatment of chronic pain. We are committed to providing holistic, individualized care. Because of this, we vow to treat each patient with compassion and respect, never turning anyone away. Our fellowship-trained pain specialists utilize a combination of interventional procedures, medication management, behavioral health therapies and dietary services to tailor a personalized care plan for the patient’s long-term pain relief.
The Pain Management Group
Chronic pain treatment has changed to include more holistic and patient-centered approaches, which help keep the whole person healthy and well. By considering all aspects of health, including nutrition, exercise and behavioral health, you and your doctor can help manage your symptoms and treat the underlying cause of your pain. Keeping your overall wellness at the forefront will help you take a different and more effective pain management strategy.
Now that you know your options, are you ready to manage your chronic pain? Do you want to know more about your treatment options? For more information on The Pain Management Group, please visit thepainmanagementgroup.com or schedule an appointment at one of our locations throughout Middle Tennessee.