What is Pain Management?
Pain management is an evolving sub specialty of modern medicine, in which an expert assesses, diagnoses and treats chronic pain in a comprehensive way to improve the quality of life of patients.
It is a multidisciplinary, rather an interdisciplinary science, in which specialists from different fields work together to help the patient. Chronic pain has many dimensions including physical, psychological, social and spiritual. Thus a team of specialists which may include a pain physician, a physiotherapist, a psychologist, an occupational therapist may work together towards a common goal. In short, no stone is left unturned to provide pain relief.
Since times unknown, there are references to pain and efforts for treating it. Since 800 BC, there are reports of opium being used to soothe pain. Although it took a long time for pain to be associated with the brain, after all sorts of theories like pain being due to imbalance between vital fluids, a passion of the soul or as a punishment for past sins, we have come a long way till now finally it has gained respect as the fifth vital sign.
The overall goals of pain management include the effective, long term and reproducible alleviation of pain and the maximal retention of quality of life and function for all patients.
What is a Pain Specialist?
A pain specialist, or a pain doctor, now a common terminology in the west, is still a new concept in India. After completing an MBBS and a Masters in Anesthesiology, pain specialists undergo further training in the field of pain management.
Why choose a Pain Specialist?
You may wonder, why not get treatment from your family doctor, or your treating physician for your chronic pain. The reason is that chronic pain is a completely different ball game and just as you have specialists for the bones, heart, eyes, for diabetes, arthritis and skin problems, in a similar way you need a specialist to treat your chronic pain. Acute pain is predictable and self limited. This will respond to routine analgesics and will leave you alone once the causative factor is gone. Chronic pain however has numerous ramifications like alterations in nerve transmission, changes in central processing, adaptations in muscle tone, movement, posture etc, all of which needs a dedicated doctor taking care of it.
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