When should I seek help for pain management?
Patients suffering from chronic pain should not wait until their pain is so severe that it has begun to affect their lifestyle. Often patients who suffer from a post-surgical or traumatic injury are referred by their surgeon. When the pain persists for at least six months or becomes disabling, patients should consult a physician. If patients do not find relief through medication therapy or other more traditional methods, they should not ignore their pain. They should talk to a physician and ask for a referral to alternate treatment plans such as a pain management specialist. The sooner patients begin to manage their pain, the easier it will be to stay in control of it.
What are the long-term effects of not managing pain?
Chronic pain and its associated treatment are often misunderstood. These misunderstandings often lead to incorrect assumptions about pain management. It is imperative that patients and employers understand the costly effect of chronic pain when it is left untreated. When it is not managed, it can lead to a series of physical, emotional and financial problems that negatively impact a patient’s quality of life.
Pain often prevents a person from performing simple tasks such as exercise, housework or job-related tasks. According to the American Chronic Pain Association, pain accounts for $61.2 million per year in lost productivity for business.
When one area of a person’s life is out of control, it is likely that other areas will also be affected negatively. For instance, when a patient is no longer able to perform well at work, they may be absent frequently or may be less productive on the job. This leads to job loss and financial stress.
When an individual loses mobility, and is unable to function physically, they may experience weight gain, muscle atrophy and sometimes diabetes. While this has an obviously negative effect on the person’s physical health, it also has a negative impact on a person’s emotional health. This could lead to depression and anxiety disorders.
There is no reason for patients to suffer unnecessarily. There are treatments available through interventional pain physicians that can provide the patients with the relief they need to get back to leading a healthy, productive lifestyle.