Living with Chronic Pain
Building a Pain Management Team
Treating chronic pain can be complicated. The causes of chronic pain are varied and many treatments are available; oftentimes, it can be difficult to make sense of it all. The most effective way to manage chronic pain is to build a competent, educated, compassionate pain management team. A highly skilled pain management team can help people manage their chronic pain; the team consists of health care professionals from various medical specialties.
Depending on the origin of chronic pain, the following medical professionals are valuable assets on an effective pain management team:
General practitioners are primary health care providers. They are typically the first point of contact when an individual experiences chronic pain. General practitioners examine the individual, order appropriate tests, prescribe medications/treatments and make referrals to the appropriate specialists or surgeons depending on the severity and cause of pain.
Specialists in different medical fields can help with chronic pain. A specialist is usually chosen depending on where the pain originated.
The following specialists often receive specialized training in pain management:
Individuals who experience pain from cancer or organ diseases may require the expertise of a radiation oncologist, surgical oncologist or medical oncologist.
Nurses are invaluable resources for chronic pain care.
Case managers help health care providers coordinate their efforts. They may also help with medical billing issues and finding treatment providers.
Each chronic pain case is unique, and other specialists who may assist in chronic pain care include family and vocational counselors, dietitians, social workers, pharmacists, and other support staff.
Establishing a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals is an invaluable tool for the treatment of chronic pain.