Five things you should know about Pain Management

  1. Pain is a complex experience and the root cause of a symptom can be challenging to determine. For example, a patient with an underlying problem in the hip (ie. arthritis, labral tear, etc.), may actually experience no pain in the hip itself, but rather “referred” pain in the leg.  Our team of pain management physicians at Hudson Medical are some of the best in the city, and have vast experience in utilizing diagnostic imaging, medical history, and physical examinations to determine the underlying cause of a patient’s symptoms.
  2. Even if people have the same underlying problem, injury or pathology, each person may experience pain and symptoms very differently.  For example, a very common spinal problem is a herniated disc; for one person, this may manifest as sharp and shooting pains down the leg, while for other people the symptoms may be localized mostly to the back itself, and may be described as dull or achy. Given the wide variety of how we experience symptoms, treatment plans can also vary widely.  Your pain management doctor will work with you to develop a tailored management plan that most often involve a combination of treatments, including minimally invasive interventions, physical therapy, and medications.
  3. Self-medicating and selecting pain medications on one’s own is generally not recommended for people with chronic pain. Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen are helpful medications for the short-term, but can cause side effects if taken over many years. Other medications, such as opioids, also have side effects and can lead to dangerous sequelae such as tolerance and addiction.  While some pain medications, including opioids, are reasonable to be taken over the long term, it is imperative that these medications be prescribed under the supervision of a well trained provider who is able to anticipate possible negative side effects and adjust treatment plans accordingly.
  4. Physical therapy is one of our first lines of defense against chronic pain, and it is almost universally incorporated into our treatment plans. Patients do best when physical therapy is combined with interventional treatments and occasionally with medication therapy. At Hudson Wellness, our elite team of physical therapists work closely with each patient to develop a personalized regimen that includes therapeutic exercises, pilates principles, kinesiology, and pressure techniques with the goal to build strength and regain mobility.
  5. When people sustain an acute injury, rest is generally recommended as part of the treatment plan. For patient with chronic pain, however, the data very convincely demonstrates that the opposite approach is actually the surest way to recovery; that is, patient with chronic pain do best when they stay active, participate in physical therapy and get regular exercise.  Conversely, inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle can exacerbate the symptoms of pain for nearly every pain disorder.

Keep these 5 things in mind and you should have a better understanding of your road to recovery. It is important to set realistic expectations, and these should be discussed with your pain management physician. Ask your doctor if you have any further questions about your treatment plan.