Chronic Pain Management

More than 70 million Americans know how difficult it is to manage chronic pain. Those that suffer from this affliction often experience problems with their personal and professional life. While pain is often managed with pain relievers such as NSAIDS and Selective NSAIDS (COX-2 inhibitors) they rarely provide relief 100% of the time. Chronic pain management requires a two-pronged approach, which includes prescribed pain medication as well as counseling for depression.

Pain medications are as varied as the 33 million patients in the U.S. that are treated with them. Physicians will prescribe pain medication in the lowest dosage needed to help a patient manage their pain. NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are medications that treat pain, inflammation and swelling of the joints. Selective NSAIDS are COX-2 inhibitors. COX-2 inhibitors block the COX-2 enzyme. This enzyme slows down the production of prostaglandins, which cause pain and swelling. The difference in these drugs is that NSAIDS can cause stomach ulceration and bleeding whereas Selective NSAIDS (COX-2 inhibitors) do not.

Chronic pain sufferers also go through a grieving process, which can leave them feeling alienated and very much alone. Grieving often includes denying the condition exists, feelings of anger and frustration, depression and guilt. In most cases, suffers will reach the point of acceptance so that they can move on with their lives. Unfortunately, many patients have friends or family members that don’t support them and are unwilling to listen to them. Our society has made it seem inappropriate to complain, even when there is a valid reason for the complaints. It is important for people suffering from chronic pain to find support whether it is from their relatives, a support group or through counseling. Finding out how others handle their pain can enable pain sufferers to move forward and help them manage their condition more effectively.

Most physicians will determine, based on a patient’s symptoms, whether they will prescribe anti-depressants and refer a patient to a counselor. The degree of your depression will determine the diagnosis. This is another reason why talking with your physician openly will help them administer an effective treatment plan. Patients with a strong support system may not need to seek counseling.

The good news about chronic pain is that it can be managed as long as a patient takes a pro-active role in their health care treatment. It is important to share as much information about your condition with a physician as possible. When physicians and patients work together as a team the end result is often a satisfying relationship as well as a more positive outlook for the patient.

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