Pain is traditionally considered chronic if it lasts for more than three months, according to anesthesiologist Youssef Saweris, MD. This includes pain that involves the spine or joints, cancer pain, nerve pain, unusual pain of the limbs, prolonged abdominal or pelvic pain, or pain after surgery.
Finding the root cause of your pain is the pain specialist’s primary goal. It’s accomplished by collaborating with your primary care physician and other specialists – and carefully listening to your complaints. This enables your pain management specialist to establish an accurate diagnosis that will help determine what’s causing the problem so you can be treated accurately.
Your pain management specialist will create a multidisciplinary treatment plan that is unique to you. This may include:
Treatment goals vary from patient to patient and it’s important to have that conversation with your doctor about what the end goal is. One study showed that physicians may have adapted to avoid long-term opioid therapy while their patients continued to focus on reducing chronic pain intensity.
You and your pain management specialist will look deeper at the original cause of your chronic pain. To take steps to help fix and prevent future problems, Dr. Saweris recommends:
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding treatment, the sooner you see a pain management specialist, the sooner you’ll be on your way toward getting the help you need and the quality of life you deserve.