Do You Do Pain Management?
Today's post is written by Craig Kantack, PA. Question: Do you do pain management? Answer: Sort of. Let's expand further through some questions:
What is pain management?
Straight from Wikipedia: Pain management (also called pain medicine or algiatry) is a branch of medicine employing an interdisciplinary approach for easing the suffering and improving the quality of life of those living with pain. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pain_management). Pain management is not a recognized specialty, per se, but is practiced by physicians in multiple different specialties, mainly physical medicine and rehabilitation (physiatry) and anesthesiology. While pain management is not a board-certified specialty, physicians from different specialties, after completing their primary training, can sit for an examination and become secondary board-certified in pain management. For example, Dr. Vlach is board-certified (primary) in physical medicine and rehabilitation and sat for a secondary board certification in sports medicine. At Eastern Idaho Spine, Sports and Rehab we are NOT board certified in pain management, and there is a reason for this.
Who practices pain management?
-Regarding Medications: Essentially anyone who practices in medicine today will prescribe some degree of analgesics (pain medications) for short-term (acute) issues; however, it is a select niche that does this on a long-term (chronic) basis. Typically this select populous are called Pain Management Specialists as they have a secondary board certification for pain management, as described as above. -Other Modalities: Different specialists employ an array of procedures/modalities that are meant to help control pain. Back to the initial question, do you do pain management? Yes, in the sense that we try many different approaches to try and alleviate a person's pain. This may include (if warranted) a brief amount of medication, but typically, we try to use guided exercise, lifestyle changes, injections and other non-narcotic based approaches in our attempt to find a solution.
How are the approaches different?
Time for one and type for another. As noted above, most providers prescribe medication such as NSAIDs, topical aids and narcotics (if appropriate) for short-term issues; however, if a patient needs to be on narcotics longer than 60 or 90 days, they are typically referred to a Pain Management Specialist. Dosage is typically another---If a patient needs more than a basic amount to alleviate their pain symptoms, they are often referred to see a specialist.
Are narcotics right for pain management?
This varies from person to person. Typically it is best to pursue all other modalities modalities such as: Lifestyle changes, exercising, Physical therapy, injections, acupuncture, spinal cord stimulator and possible surgery prior to determining that chronic narcotic management is the only option. In some cases chronic narcotic management may be the only option; however, in others a person may have greater benefit from other treatment(s).
Which is right for me?
This is variable as well, dependent on your symptoms, anatomy and modalities tried to date. Keep moving!! From all the staff at Eastern Idaho Spine, Sports and Rehab.