Living with Chronic Pain
Build the Best Pain Management Team
The best way to manage chronic pain is by building the best pain management team possible. To do that, you will need to know what your options are.
1. General Practitioner (Primary Care Physician)
A general practitioner is a primary health care provider. He or she is a person’s first point of contact when they start to experience pain. General practitioners will exam the patient and refer them to the appropriate specialist or surgeon depending on the severity and cause.
2. Pain Specialists
Specialist clinicians are responsible for pain management. They may include psychiatrists, pain specialists, neurologists, and rheumatologists.
- Neurologists specialize in diseases involving the spinal cord, nerves, and brain
- Rheumatologists treat joint and soft tissues diseases
- Psychiatrists work with patients who have conditions that affect one’s emotions and mental health
- Pain specialists are trained in diagnosing, managing and treating pain
3. Specialist Surgeons
Specialist doctors, including orthopedic and neurosurgeons, are responsible for managing chronic pain. A neurosurgeon performs surgical treatments that involve the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, while an orthopedic surgeon performs surgical procedures that deal with the muscles, joints, and bone.
4. Other Medical Specialists
Patients who experience pain from cancer or organ diseases may require the treatment of a radiation oncologist, surgical oncologist, and medical oncologist.
5. Allied Health Professionals
- Physiotherapists are responsible for providing relief in the form of massage or joint and muscle manipulation. They help the patient focus on posture and physical therapy exercises to relieve pain. Other techniques used are heat, ultrasound, and traction.
- Rehabilitation counselors assist with retaining and employment advice to help the patient ease back into stressful situations.
- Psychologists teach patients how to cope with pain by using cognitive behavioral techniques.
- Occupational therapists help patients adapt to their daily lives. This may include daily activities that reduce pain or environmental changes that are best suited for the patient.
A nurse is trained in a combination of skills needed to assist the patient. They may be able to help maximize treatment plants, care for the patient after clinical procedures, and help with recovery.
7. Social Workers
Social workers may be able to help with life problems that deal with family, house and incoming issues. A community support staff member provides help to the general community. Pain support group facilitators are in charge of coordinating groups for chronic pain sufferers. Pain management trainers work with groups to information the public about the best way to treat chronic pain.