WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?
Most pain management specialists would agree that chronic pain is pain lasting over three months time.
Pain itself is the “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.” This is the official definition agreed upon by the International Association for the Study of Pain.
This definition of pain implies a personal experience by an individual and as such cannot be seen by others, measured with instruments or imaged medically.
Nevertheless, it impacts both the sufferer and their social network: family, friends, work group. Chronic pain affects mood, self image, social status, financial wellbeing, role in the family and multiple other dimensions.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR PAIN GENERATOR
This process begins with the initial assessment of history. Important details include the exact location of symptoms, the experience with regard to how these symptoms are felt and factors that modify pain for the better or the worse.
The physical examination provides clues as to which potential pain generators are active and help to focus attention to these specific structures when imaging and other testing results are reviewed.
It is important to recognize that we as human beings wear out in predictable ways. Often times when pain onset is not degenerative but as a result of trauma, it too can result in predictable patterns of symptoms. Pattern recognition is not only important for prognosis (prediction for improvement or decline) but also for treatment options.
WHY DOES OUR DIAGNOSTIC APPROACH MATTER?
Treating the true source of a condition has more successful long-term results than just treating the symptoms. Symptoms that do not go away even after treatment may be secondary to medical conditions that have gone undetected. Having a more in-depth understanding of your pain will allow us to determine and prescribe the right treatment for you. We’re passionate about this because we believe we can make a difference in your quality of life and functional status.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM TREATMENT?
Dr. Dwight Ligham, Dr. Lloyd Saberski, Dr. Michael Robbins and the other clinicians of Advanced Diagnostic Pain Treatment Centers, PC are dedicated to improving function and quality of life for our patients.
Unfortunately, in most instances, there are no tools to eliminate the complete experience of pain. Some pain must be tolerated…”lived with.” With no intention of being trite, I often tell patients that’s why the specialty is called “Pain Management”, and not “Pain Cure.”
HOW IS PROGRESS MEASURED?
If pain cannot be seen or measured, how are treatment endpoints set in order to measure treatment efficacy?
Treatment is measured against improvement in functional status. What are these functional endpoints? Here is a list of some common ones:
- Independent self-care (dressing, bathing, etc.)
- Maintenance of work capacity
- Improvement in performance of activities of daily living (such as chores, hobbies)
- Improve or maintain ability to use community resources (visit friends, shop, attend church, movies, go out to dinner)
- Improve sleep quality
The initial functional assessment as part of the history establishes the pre-treatment baseline.