Managing chronic pain is not an easy task. Whether it’s due to an injury, illness or other condition, pain can have an enormous negative impact on our lives and emotional well-being. An effective pain management protocol is essential when it comes to managing your chronic pain. If your treatment plan is not working and you still experience a lowered quality of life due to your pain symptoms, here are a few things you should know.
Reasons Your Pain Management Protocol is Failing
There are a number of reasons why your pain management treatment program may not be delivering the results you want. Here are the most common:
You are self-treating: Do you work with a professional pain management specialist for your symptoms? Some people think they can handle the pain themselves with over the counter medication, ice, or other at-home remedies. While this may work for mild cases or those that resolve themselves in time, it is likely not effective for chronic, debilitating pain.
Your treatment is dependent on painkillers: Painkillers can help ease symptoms, but they should never be the backbone of a treatment program. Over the counter drugs and opioids only mask the symptoms and do nothing to alleviate the cause of the pain. Without complementary treatment, painkillers may add to your problems instead of solving them.
Your doctor isn’t listening to you: Some doctors and other healthcare professionals gloss over chronic pain, especially if they don’t fully understand your condition. If you have tried to explain how you feel to your doctor and have been told it’s ‘all in your head’ or that it will go away on its own, you need to see a different specialist. Your doctor should always listen to your concerns and be responsive if your treatment is not working.
Pain Management Techniques That Work
Tired of pain management treatment plans that don’t work or that start to lose effectiveness after a few weeks or months? Chronic pain is different for everyone, and to treat it correctly, a specialist must tailor a protocol to your exact needs. A successful treatment program will include the following:
Full disclosure: The beginning of any pain management treatment program needs to start with full disclosure. Tell your doctor everything you know about your pain and condition and what you have done in the past and are currently doing to manage it. Share not only how you feel physically, but also how this is affecting you emotionally. Your team of specialists should ask thoughtful questions and get clarification where needed. This will give them the opportunity to understand the full spectrum of your condition and modify your current plan to make it more effective.
Comprehensive Treatment: The best pain management treatment programs are comprehensive in nature and include a combination of different approaches based on your needs. Your doctor should listen carefully to your full disclosure and ask plenty of questions so they are informed not only about your condition but also about your lifestyle and other factors that could play a part in your treatment. They can then suggest a multidisciplinary approach that could include counseling, lifestyle adjustments, physical therapy, physiotherapy, and medication. In some cases, the right answer may be surgery or a more invasive procedure, but this should always be the last option.
Effective Education: As a pain management patient, it is up to you to gather education about your condition and what you can do to effectively treat it. Your doctor should give you the resources to help with this process. Information such as problem-solving skills, stress management, lifestyle adjustments, and relaxation techniques should all be part of your education process. You should always feel in control of your treatment plan and that your doctor is a partner in your care.
Communication: As your treatment program evolves, it’s imperative that you keep open lines of communication with your doctor and the others on your pain management care team. Developing a strong relationship where you feel valued and listened to is at the core of communication. When you know your best interests are being taken into consideration, you will be more likely to communicate wins, struggles, and feelings with your care team. This helps them to make changes to your pain management protocol and ensure they are offering the best care possible for your needs.
Finding a New Pain Management Clinic
If you are currently trying to self-administer your own pain management program or are working with a clinic that is not meeting your needs, it’s time to find a more effective solution. When looking for a new pain management specialist, keep the following in mind:
Their credentials and experience: Do they have medical doctors on staff who specialize in pain management? How many years of experience do they have? Will you see the actual doctors or will you mostly meet with support staff?
Their willingness to listen: From the first contact you have with the clinic, you should feel your concerns are being listened and responded to. Ask plenty of questions before you become a patient and see how you are treated. Are they respectful? Do they answer promptly or let you know when they need to do more research to effectively answer your question? Do they get back to you when you leave a message? How they treat you now is an indication of how they will treat you if you become a patient.
Their approach: Does the clinic take a multidisciplinary approach to pain management or do they rely on medication or surgery? Do they have counselors and physiotherapists on staff? Find out what their treatment protocols usually entail to ensure they will use numerous methods to address and reduce your pain.
Chronic pain does not have to take over your life. If your current pain management treatment program is not effective enough to allow you to live a full and active life, it’s time to look for a new pain management clinic. If you have any questions about chronic pain or would like to speak to one of our specialists, please reach out today.