Sound familiar?: I’m in pain all the time, but am not sure where to turn, now. I’ve heard the terms ‘pain management clinic’ tossed around and am a little curious. What is a pain management clinic? What do I need to expect if I go? How do I go about finding one?
What is a Pain Clinic?
A pain clinic is essentially a healthcare facility that focuses on helping individuals to be better able to manage chronic pain. It begins with a diagnosis of where the pain is coming from and then moves into learning how to cope with it. These clinics go over certain procedures that could help, prescribe medications, and even help you manage pain with behavioral, physical, or psychological therapists. Pain management clinics vary in size and effectiveness. You want to choose a pain mangement center that focuses on educating you, as the patient, to be able to make the best possible decisions for your overall health and well being.
Team May Include
There are many healthcare professionals who can assist you with managing the pain that you face. At various times and depending on the situation, these might include:
- Nurses and Doctors
- Physical Therapists
- Occupational and Vocational Therapists
- Nutritionists and Dietitians
Each of these professionals can work together to help you better be able to mitigate the pain you have in various parts of your body.
Two Types of Pain Management Clinics
The first type of pain clinic is focused on providing various procedures that deal specifically with the type of pain the patient is feeling, such as issues with the pain and neck. The second type is commonly referred to as an interdisciplinary clinic. This focuses on assembling the team of professionals we just talked about in an effort to deal with the whole person.
Clinics Help With More Than Just Medication
There is more to a pain clinic than just receiving medication. These facilities work to take into account a variety of physical, psychological, and behavioral therapies. Depending on the situation, this might involve any or the following:
- Water Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Depending on the type of pain you are facing, you might be encouraged to go through some of these therapies during your treatment.
What’s the Goal?
The goal of this process is to reduce the amount of pain that you are facing, thereby increasing the quality of life that you enjoy. When you receive treatment at a pain clinic, you will be gaining the skills that you need to effectively handle that pain on your own. This will allow you to function much better, and you may even be able to resume normal activities such as work and your hobbies.
Do They Work?
There have been numerous studies conducted in this area that have concluded that an effective program of managing pain leads to reduced pain and fewer incidences of emotional distress in the individual. There is also research that suggests routine tasks are made much simpler as a result.
How Do I Find a Pain Clinic?
There are several ways that you can go about finding a pain clinic in your area that should work for you. You can:
- Ask your primary care physician or specialist.
- Call a hospital or other type of healthcare facility in your area.
- Contact a local support group that is focused on managing pain
- Look online for a list of clinics in your region.
Any of these methods should lead you to multiple choices. Then, just do your research to determine which one you feel the most comfortable with.
What Should I Look For?
You want to look for a specialist who understands the type of pain that you are facing. You will also want to ask for a physician who is board certified in this area. Above all, you should feel comfortable with the person that you choose.
What Should I Ask?
As you are talking to a clinic, find out the various therapies and treatments that they have to offer. You will also want to ask if they have organized any support groups. It is also acceptable to ask if you can talk to any individuals who have already received treatment at the facility.
What Should I Avoid?
You do want to avoid clinics that have an over-reliance on narcotics to treat the pain. Those can be way too addictive. The clinic you choose should focus on the whole person, not just the pain that you are feeling.