Pain Management Advancements You Need to Know About
According to an MPR segment on Advances in Chronic Pain Management, there are several changes in the way that pain doctor specialists are understanding and treating patients who experience chronic pain.
#1: Pain is connected to the brain.
When you stub your toe, you say that your toe hurts. In reality, explains Dr. Yves De Koninck, it isn’t your toe that hurts, but your brain that “feels” the pain. This is because pain is a sign sent to the brain when something happens in or to your body.
Understanding that pain is as much about a physical sensation as it is about what is happening in the brain is revolutionizing the way that chronic pain is being researched and understood.
#2: Pain is more complex than previously thought.
Based on the new understanding that the sensation of pain is connected to the brain, pain doctors and those in the field of pain management are increasingly finding that pain is much more complex than previously thought. For example, the nerves can rewire or send false signals as a part of an imbalanced sensory system. Treating pain that is neuropathic rather than injury-related is much more complicated.
#3: Pain can be a part of a snowball effect.
Pain can be a part of a snowball effect, in which pain is both a cause and an effect. For example, when people are frequently stressed, they may tense their muscles more. The effect is pain. However, the pain in the muscles can cause that person to lose sleep, which then exacerbates the problem. This finding shows that providing patients with pain management relief at pain clinics serves the medical purpose of breaking the “snowball effect.”
#4: Drugs are not long term solutions.
Often, patients are prescribed opiates for pain relief. Opiates can be addicting, though, and provide no actual solution for pain. Alternative pain management treatments like those offered at pain clinics are increasingly being explored as longer lasting solutions that have fewer harmful side effects.