Home Health Understanding Pain Management: How a Physician Can Improve Your Quality of Life

Understanding Pain Management: How a Physician Can Improve Your Quality of Life

by John Milton
Understanding Pain Management

Everyone experiences chronic pain at some point in their life. A study by the National Library of Medicine reveals the prevalence of pain among adults is 11% to 40%. Is there a way to manage pain and lead a healthy lifestyle? Yes. It is possible to live pain-free if you follow an effective pain management strategy. Pain management provides relief and improves the quality of life, but it can be challenging. Why, you may wonder? Treatments designed for pain can be harmful if not administered correctly. For this reason, individuals living with pain must work with physicians to make healthier decisions to reduce pain. Continue reading to understand how a physician can improve your quality of life when dealing with pain.

Role of Physician in Pain Management

The responsibility of physicians in pain management is to provide safe and effective treatment. Just like other diseases, your doctor will follow the correct process to administer medication to prevent misuse and potential harm caused by opioids. Below are steps physicians follow to help patients manage pain.

1. Evaluate the Cause of Pain

Before a physician can provide a lasting solution to your pain, they will identify the factors causing it. Common causes of pain are:

  • injuries and surgeries
  • nerve damage
  • arthritis
  • fibromyalgia
  • headaches
  • back pain
  • muscle strains or cramps

So, how do physicians identify pain? Your doctor will ask you questions like: 

  • Are you feeling pain or aching anywhere?
  • Where do you feel pain?
  • How long have you experienced the pain?
  • Does the pain hurt every day, and does it prevent you from sleeping?

These questions will help your healthcare provider determine the cause, type, intensity, and impact of pain on your well-being. Apart from verbal scaling or self-reporting, a physician will use other tools like numeric scaling and visual analog scales or observation. They also perform tests like X-rays, ultrasound imaging, MRI, and bone scans to diagnose the cause of pain. 

2. Create a Treatment Plan

According to Oklahoma Interventional Spine & Pain, overcoming chronic pain can be challenging. But with the help of determined physicians, you can easily manage pain through personalized treatment strategies. So, what does individualized treatment entail? First of all, customized pain management targets the specific needs of an individual patient. That is because each patient experiences pain differently. Secondly, customized treatment takes a multimodal approach because no single intervention can heal pain. 

In simple terms, multimodal is the use of medicine and alternative therapies. Medical interventions will range from opioids to local anesthesia and non-opioid drugs. Alternative treatment methods include therapies like:

  • physical therapy or exercise
  • massage 
  • acupuncture
  • meditation
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • relaxation

These alternative therapies improve pain relief, reduce the side effects of medicine, and improve the quality of life.

3. Coordinate with Other Care Providers

Physicians often work with a team of other healthcare experts, like physical therapists, pharmacists, psychologists, pain specialists, and nutritionists. When physicians coordinate care with other health experts, they can:

  • develop comprehensive care that fits the unique needs of each patient.
  • ensure continuity and efficiency of care.
  • optimize patient’s pain management 

Ideally, physicians collaborating with other professionals can quickly access additional expertise, skills, and support to personalize treatment. For example, your primary care practitioner could consult or refer you to a pain specialist. This move ensures you receive specialized pain management when standard medicines and exercise seem ineffective. 

4. Educate and Monitor Patients’ Progress

Another excellent way physicians enhance the quality of life is through patient empowerment. A physician teaches patients about their pain, potential causes, and available treatment methods. When patients are well-informed, they can have meaningful discussions with their care providers and make informed decisions about their treatment. For instance, let’s say you are struggling with back pain. Your doctor could highlight mistakes that cause your back pain to get worse. They will also teach you about lifestyle changes and self-care techniques, like massage, relaxing muscles, exercising, and avoiding smoking to improve your overall quality of life. 

Once you clearly understand the factors causing back pain, you can discuss the treatment options available and choose one that targets your specific condition. In addition to educating patients, physicians monitor progress based on the patient’s goals and expectations. They evaluate the treatments’ efficacy and safety and monitor signs of drug addiction and side effects. If your doctor notices you are over-reliant on medicine, they could adjust the dose and frequency or discontinue the interventions. 

Conclusion

Pain management is an integral part of healthcare that aims to enhance the quality of life. Physicians play a critical role in ensuring patients diagnosed with chronic pain get the most out of pain management. To achieve this goal, primary care providers evaluate the cause of pain, create a treatment plan, and coordinate with other health professionals. Physicians also educate patients and monitor their progress to ensure the interventions provided are efficient and safe. 

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