When Pain Management Isn’t Working

Innovation

Sep 30, 2015

Millions of people all over the world suffer from chronic pain. Many use medications, injections or surgery as a way to provide relief.

These traditional pain management approaches are sometimes helpful, but they don’t work for everyone.

If this sounds familiar, it might be time to look beyond pain management and towards a pain rehabilitation program. Wondering what the difference is? Pain Management and Pain Rehabilitation differ in two main ways:

Treatment focus:

Pain management tends to focus on treating symptoms as a way to decrease pain. Symptoms may include pain, tingling, or other uncomfortable feelings. Often, pain management is comprised of a physician working in a medical environment prescribing specific treatments such as:

  • Medications
  • Injections
  • Procedures
  • Surgery

The prevailing thought here is that if you can treat a symptom, then pain will decrease and a person can return to normal. However, that is not always the case.

Treatment for chronic pain should be a combination of two philosophies: decreasing pain while increasing function. Pain Rehabilitation focuses on both.

A pain rehabilitation team consists of physicians, physical therapist, occupational therapists, psychologists, and biofeedback therapists who work together on a holistic approach to treatment. They develop treatment plans to increase strength, flexibility, and balance in addition to employing techniques to reduce overall pain.

Treatment for chronic pain should be a combination of two philosophies: decreasing pain while increasing function. Pain Rehabilitation focuses on both.

This combination of conditioning and management has been shown to produce excellent long-term results for those who complete a comprehensive program.

Active vs. Passive Treatment

In pain management the patient is considered passive. Under this model, patients are treated by physicians and medical staff. Medicine is prescribed, surgery is performed, injections are given and the patient’s role is to receive the treatment. As a result, long-term outcomes from this approach are not very good.

In pain rehabilitation the patient is an active participant in the rehabilitation process. Patients discuss their case, problem solve strategies with the therapist, perform exercises, and learn coping mechanisms. This is an empowering process for participants, and aids with long-term recovery.

If traditional pain management treatments aren’t working for your condition, itcould be time to look for a different solution. Treating pain is a complex issue. It takes a team of experts working alongside the patient to provide comprehensive results.

Brooks Rehabilitation offers a comprehensive four week Pain Rehabilitation Program. If you are interested in more information please contact amanda.iames@brooksrehab.org