PAIN MANAGEMENT

Pain management is an essential part of treatment for patients with chronic pain. Most of this treatment can be accomplished in an outpatient basis with individual practitioners, but some cases may require specialized treatment in more intensive, multidisciplinary settings. These programs may be inpatient, outpatient or a hybrid of the two.

For many patients with chronic intractable pain, treatment can be successfully accomplished by their individual practitioners. These practitioners must take into account other modalities of pain treatment, especially psychosocial issues. If they need help they may call in other specialists, such as anesthesiologists for blocks, psychiatrists or psychologists for psychotherapy, independent nurse case managers for interface with the insurance carrier, etc. If the individual practitioner cannot manage the patient's pain on his or her own, then they may need to request the help of a functional restoration program. The goal of this type of program is to use an intensive multidisciplinary approach to help patients gain the highest function with the least amount of ongoing medical care.

Regardless of methods used, the treatment of pain management addresses issues such as functional capacity, vocational retraining, exercise tolerance, medication usage, medical legal issues, and psychosocial equilibrium. Treatment planning should be tailored to the needs of individual patients and outcomes are based upon those patient's underlying disabilities, physiologic pain and psychosocial capacities. Successful treatment outcomes will vary according to these parameters and not an arbitrary standard set for all patients.