What is Pain Management?
Pain management, or pain medicine, is a growing medical specialty dedicated to treating acute, sub-acute, and chronic pain. The goal of pain medicine is to improve quality of life and help patients return to everyday activities without surgery.
The Spine and Pain Institute of New York provides a team approach to treat different types of pain including complex pain syndromes. Our medical team works with your referring physician, physical and occupational therapists, oncologist, and psychiatrist, or psychologist to provide a high level of quality and effective pain care.
Acute, Sub-acute and Chronic Pain
Pain is generally classified as being acute or chronic. Acute pain begins quickly or suddenly and may be severe. Sub-acute pain is defined as being between acute and chronic. Depending on the cause, acute pain may last 3 to 6 months. Chronic pain is persistent and may be mild or severe. It is defined as pain lasting longer than 6 months. It is well documented that if acute pain is not treated appropriately it can progress to chronic pain.
Patient Pain Evaluation
One of our pain management specialists, Kenneth Chapman, MD, Kiran Patel, MD or Sudhir Diwan, MD, will begin care by reviewing your medical history and evaluating your physical and neurological condition to find the source of your pain. Dr. Chapman, Dr. Canty or Dr. Diwan may ask when pain started and is it associated with an event such as injury; has the pain changed – intensity, duration, what relieves or aggravates your pain; and, associated symptoms such as nausea or weakness. If you have kept a pain diary, this information is of significant value.
An in depth discussion of your pain includes its location(s), duration, and intensity. The doctor may ask you to rate your pain on a scale of zero to 10 with 10 being the worst pain possible. Alternatively, you may be asked to notate on a picture of the front and back of body where you feel pain and designate its type (i.e. burning, sharp) and intensity (1 through 10). Pediatric patients use a pain faces diagram to help them explain their pain.
Dr. Chapman, Dr. Canty or Dr. Diwan may order a CT scan, MRI, or other imaging study to further evaluate your pain and diagnose its cause. Many types of spinal injections provide valuable diagnostic information such as a Medial Nerve Branch Block or discography.
Depending on many factors, such as the type of pain and your general health, treatments may be combined. Some patients are surprised to learn that a treatment that failed to provide relief before is effective when combined with one or more therapies.
- Medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants, anti-seizure drugs, and narcotics. Specific types of anti-depressant and anti-seizure drugs are effective to reduce neuropathic pain (damaged nerve fibers).
- Interventional pain options are used as a means of diagnosing the actual source of pain and/or as a means of decreasing or eliminating pain.
Depending on the cause of your pain, a specific plan is developed to try to reduce and manage pain. Treatments are specific for each patient, dependant on their unique complaints, physical findings, radiological study results, and response to previous injections. The Spine and Pain Institute of New York does not recommend the generic series of 3 injections. We recognize that patients and their pain are different. We find some of our patients respond favorably to one injection negating the need for a series.
Pain Management Improves Quality of Life
Advances in pain medicine help thousands of pain patients every day. There are many ways to control pain and improve your quality of life. If you want the cause of your pain diagnosed and treated with the most state of the art treatment, contact The Spine and Pain Institute of New York today for an appointment.