A patient’s pain journey can be long, confusing, and disruptive to their lifestyle. Finding pain management treatments that provide appropriate relief is not always easy; thus, it is important to proactively manage your treatment journey with your medical team.
Diagnosing Your Condition
Diagnosing a painful condition can be difficult and require several doctors from multiple specialty areas to evaluate patient information. Important patient information includes self reporting, blood tests, imaging, physical exams, neurological tests, nerve studies and/or psychiatric evaluation. When the patient’s condition(s) is accurately diagnosed, the care team can tailor the right treatments and wellness activities to help reduce and cope with pain.
A multi-disciplinary care team consists of doctors, therapists, and support members that help provide the patient with treatments, physical, and mental activities to help manage pain. A multidisciplinary approach to evaluation can result in the most comprehensive and personalized care plan when the following experts are consulted: acupuncturists, anesthesiologists, chiropractors, neurologists, nurses, occupational therapists, oncologists, pain specialists, physiatrists, physical therapists, primary care physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and rheumatologists.
Primary care physicians often refer patients to specialists to help diagnose and treat different conditions such as cancer (Oncologists), joint pain (Rheumatologists), back or neck pain (Anesthesiologists or Physiatrists). Pain management specialists often practice at pain clinics in multidisciplinary teams to help customize wellness activities, therapies, medications, and procedures.
Physical therapists can help restore muscle strength and function through exercise, massage, electrical nerve stimulation, and topical pain relief. Chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, and medical marijuana are alternative therapies that have helped some patients relieve and manage chronic pain. Cognitive behavioral, psychological, and relaxation therapists help patients relieve anxiety, depression and stress that increases the perception of pain.