The words “chronic pain” mean different
things to different people. The general definition is
"pain which has lasted for more than six months."
The problem with this definition is that it does not
differentiate between mild pain and severe, constant,
disabling pain--pain that ruins lives.
At our Interventional Pain Center we deal with the patients
at the extreme end of the spectrum who indeed have severe,
disabling, ongoing pain.
Modern science has fortunately evolved to the point
where we are now able to diagnose the source of many
of these types of chronic pain. In the past before this
could be done, patients were told "the pain is
in your head." Now with our sophisticated diagnostic
testing, we can often find the source of the pain. It's
exciting that not only do we now have a diagnosis, but
we can look toward a rational treatment of the problem.
In our clinic we diagnose the source of pain in about
60% to 70% of patients. Very often they have not had
a diagnosis before, and so they were not being treated
on a rational basis. Our clinic is dedicated to finding
the diagnosis, that is, to finding the source of the
pain rather than simply telling the patients they have
a nebulous condition called "chronic pain".
We also recognize that often, because of ongoing chronic
severe pain, the patient's financial stability and private
life are put in jeopardy. It is natural that when someone
is in constant pain he will be unable to work effectively,
and sooner or later maybe lose his or her job. The interferences
to family life may lead to family breakups. The unrelenting
pain, poor sleep, financial and family worries, inevitably
lead towards psychological meltdown.
It is no surprise that with everything falling apart,
many of these patients have suicidal thoughts--one of
the recognized dangers of chronic pain.
The goal of our Pain Management Practice is to provide
total support--to make all the pieces fit. Occasionally,
we “hit a home run”, but often we simply
facilitate, by direction, the patients rehabilitation
process by finding the right combination of Physical
Therapy rehabilitation, Surgical correction, behavioral
modification, medical management and high tech pain
management techniques to provide the patient with a
tolerable and appreciated level of pain relief.