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The first step to understanding the specialty of pain management is to know the difference between acute and chronic pain.
Acute pain usually begins suddenly and may be intense. It can cause visible bodily reactions such as sweating, an increase in blood pressure, and anxiety. Acute pain is a signal of injury to the body. Acute pain is lessened and resolves when pain relief is given or the injury is treated. In more serious cases of pain, however, a pain medicine doctor may be necessary to help manage the pain and offer patients relief. Generally speaking, acute pain responds well and is relieved as the injury is treated and healing takes place.
Chronic pain on the other hand is more complex. Chronic pain is pain that persists beyond the normal time expected for an injury to heal or an illness to resolve. Said another way, chronic pain is pain that doesn’t go away when it should have.
Most physicians view chronic pain as a persistent pain symptom that lasts longer than a month. Chronic pain can be stressful because of the disability spiral that is created. The person with chronic pain may continually limit their activities to lessen the pain symptoms, but by doing so, muscles atrophy and can actually be more susceptible to future strain. Those with chronic back pain, for example, can be disabled from work, which in turn can result in loss of job and increasing financial problems. Loss of job and struggling to pay bill in turn can cause more anxiety and distress. The impact of chronic pain goes beyond the individual experiencing the pain symptom and can affect the entire family that may have to act as care giver.
Successful treatment of pain requires a specialized approach, typically with an anesthesiologist who specializes in pain managment treatment options.
In addition to pain managment specialists, successful treatment can also involve a multi-specialty team of occupational therapists, social workers, vocational counselors, psychologists and physical medicine physicians.
The pain management specialists affiliated with Kindred Specialty Care address a variety of pain issues including:
Other Chronic Pain Conditions