Sep 08, 2009
FAQ ABOUT CHRONIC PAIN AND IT'S MOST COMMON QUESTIONS
......Remember, Chronic Pain is a disease that needs to be medically addressed as such. In this article, we will discuss the many different ways Chronic Pain can be treated and it's most asked questions.
WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN:
Chronic Pain is a pain that lasts for an extended period of time and is most often but not limited to a contributing factor such as a disease or an injury. Chronic Pain can also invade your body for no reason at all. This type of Chronic Pain is called Psychogenic Pain meaning not due to any disconcernable injury or disease process.
WHAT ARE THE DISEASES MOST OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH CHRONIC PAIN:
Back Disorders and Fibromyalgia are two of the most common contributors of Chronic Pain. They can also be the most undertreated of them all. With back pain, there is not always an answer because of the complexety of the back and with Fibromyalgia, it has just been in the last few years that it has become so widely recodnized and there are still some Doctors who refuse to recodnize it as an actual disease.
WHAT TYPE OF DOCTOR SHOULD I SEE:
The first Doctor you should see is your Primary Care Doctor. Your Doctor will make the actual diagnosis of why you may be experiencing pain and then possibly refer you to a " Pain Management Specialist". This is not always the case though. In some states, your Primary Care Doctor is also the Pain Specialist. If for some reason your Doctor does not recodnize your pain and you feel the need to have it addressed then you should make an appointment with a Pain Management Specialist on your own. The pain Specialist is generally the most qualified to handle your pain. It is always best to aquire your Medical Records before your appointment.
WILL MY PAIN DOCTOR ACT AS MY PRIMARY DOCTOR?
No. Your Pain Management Doctor will only treat your pain related issues. Most Pain Management Doctors will also ask that you have a Primary Doctor as well.
WILL I HAVE TO SIGN A CONTRACT WITH THE PAIN MANAGEMENT DOCTOR:
Yes, most Pain Management Doctors or any Doctor that prescribes Pain Medicine (mainly Narcotics) will have you sign a contract with them stating that you will not obtain medications from any other Doctor other than their Doctor or the one doing the prescribing. Note that there are some exceptions to this . In cases of an emergency and you are treated at a Hospital, it is generally alright to be given pain medicine whether it be in Hospital or take home medications.
HOW CAN I TELL MY DOCTOR HOW MUCH PAIN I AM IN:
The best way to describe your pain is as cleary and in as much detail as you possibly can. Sometimes it is best to keep a journal of where your pain is, how bad it is that day and how often it occures. Most Doctors and Nurses will ask you to describe your level of pain by using a Pain Scale numbered from one to ten. One being the least amount of pain and ten being completely unbearable, the worst pain you have ever felt.
SOME DAYS MY PAIN IS WORSE THAN OTHER DAYS. WHAT CAN I DO?
On the days that your pain seems to be worse than normal, keep track of what you did that day for example: extra chores, yard work, shoppping, social engagments ect...try and limit these activities or get extra help if needed. In some cases,medication can be taken prior to these activities (or time of day) to prevent the added pain from occuring. You can always talk with your Doctor about the possibility of increasing you medication on those days but always make sure you follow your Doctors instructions. It is very important.
WHY IS MY PAIN MEDICATION NOT AS EFFECTIVE AS IT ONCE WAS?
There are a couple of reasons why this happens. The first of which might be your tolorance. Tolorance is a normal physiological response to Narcotics and occures when the initial dose of a substance loses it's effectiveness over time. Changing the dose often solves the problem. This is something you need to discuss with your Doctor so that you stay on top of your pain. Another reason why you pain medication might not be as effective is the possibility that the initial cause of your Chronic Pain has become worse over time. Your condition will most likey have to be re-evaluated so that your pain medication can be adjusted accordingly.
SHOULD I TAKE PAIN MEDICATION ONLY WHEN I HAVE A LOT OF PAIN?
In most cases no. This is basically between you and how your Doctor prescribes the medication. Chronic Pain generally doesn't get better, you just have better days than others so it is very important that you take your medication as prescribed. If your medication was prescribed as an "as needed" basis then you should take it that way but for most Chronic Pain patients that is not possible and the medication is not prescribed that way. When you have Chronic Pain, taking your pain medication only when you have a lot of pain can increase your symptoms and make your pain spiral out of control. It is often hard to get it back to where you are comfortable again. So, it is very important to keep yourself on a schedule.
ARE NARCOTICS OR OPIATES THE ONLY WAY TO TREAT MY PAIN?
No! Absolutely not. Narcotics or opiates are the most common way that Chronic Pain is treated but there are many different options available with todays market.