Chronic pain is a common condition (or a side effect of other conditions). Up to 20% of adults in the United States suffer from some form of chronic pain.
As a healthcare professional, it’s crucial that you’re able to help your patients manage their pain.
But what is pain management anyway? How does pain management differ from other kinds of care, and how can you help your patients understand?
We’re here to talk about it.
Keep reading to learn pain management and pain management education for patients.
What Is Pain Management?
Pain management is a field of healthcare that focuses on managing pain rather than getting rid of the source. It’s intended to help patients cope with the pain that comes with other conditions that may be being worked on separately.
There are many different methods of pain management, and pain management specialists may all have different focuses.
What Does a Pain Management Specialist Do?
Pain management specialists begin by diagnosing the pain. They may refer the patient to other specialists that can focus on the source of the pain or to specialists that are better suited to the specific techniques that the patient would benefit from.
Some pain management specialists work with medications. They use things like painkillers, anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, and different kinds of injections in order to control pain.
Others prefer physical techniques, similar to those of a chiropractor or physical therapist. These specialists might refer a patient to actual physical therapists depending on their needs.
More still suggest surgical or more intense techniques like implants or stem-cell techniques.
Pain management specialists all go through healthcare training and learn a lot about how to best ease pain in the body, but many pick a specialty that they’re comfortable with.
How Can Patients Be Better-Educated About Pain Management?
Pain management isn’t a “fix it and go” kind of problem. If you’re a healthcare professional who’s working on pain management with your patients, it’s important that you don’t just do things; you need to explain why you’re doing them and why they’re important.
Many pain management specialists send their patients home with “homework” to be completed between sessions. Sometimes this includes information packets, but more often it includes stretches and lists of “dos” and “do nots”.
It might include exercises or even meal plans depending on the source of the pain and the condition that the patient is managing.
Patients may be sent home with DVDs or even pamphlets outlining their condition and how they can best handle it on their own.
The most convenient way to dole out information to attentive patients is through helpful websites, even ones that are made by the healthcare providers themselves. This way the patients can interact with the site and even ask questions.
It’s essential that patients are educated on their own pain management. This is a long-term event.
Pain Management and Patient Education: They Go Together
So what is pain management and how can your patients be better-equipped to deal with it?
It’s not too complicated. Managing a patient’s pain in-office is only half of the battle. The rest comes from teaching your patient how to protect and heal themselves on their own time. This post-treatment education can keep them in less pain for as long as possible.
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