Pain management, painkiller, pain specialist, pain econology, pain control, or clinical hypnotherapist, is a field of medicine which makes use of an interdisciplinary approach in order to ease the suffering caused by debilitating pain, while improving the standard of living of the patient and his or her family members. Pain management can be broadly classified into two areas: pharmacology, the study of drugs and pharmacological agents for the pain management; and psychopharmacology, the study of brain chemicals responsible for pain processing. Other forms of pain management include cognitive therapy and interventional pain management. This article aims at providing an introduction to the subject.
The term pain management literally refers to the administration of drugs for pain relief. This field is one of the fast growing fields of medical science and this article will provide some interesting insight into the nature and scope of pain management in today’s world. Today, pain management techniques have evolved to the extent that the concept of pain management has become a complete discipline on its own. This is most evident in the case of cancer pain management wherein cancer pain relief is treated completely differently from non-cancer pain relief. On the other hand, pain management is used to provide symptomatically as well as pharmacologically pain relief for conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, shingles and post-operative pain in those suffering from cancer or cardiac disease.
The field of medical pain management doctors also deals with non-surgical pain management for those diagnosed with pain generating diseases, especially back and neck problems. There are three main types of pain management doctors namely conventional treatment, interventional procedures and complementary medicines. The field of medical pain management doctors has also witnessed significant growth owing to the evolution of interventional procedures such as cardiopulmonary techniques, ultrasound therapies and laser-assisted procedures. These interventional procedures offer a pain management system that involves pharmacological therapy coupled with the use of specific devices.
On the contrary, the field of primary care physicians is primarily concerned with issues such as preventive care, diagnosis and treatment of illness. It is incumbent upon the primary care physician to educate the patient on how to manage pain. This is usually done by educating patients on pain management techniques, exercise, nutrition and symptom management. The primary care physician may refer the patient to a specialist when the need arises.
Those suffering from a debilitating illness such as cancer often require specialized pain management doctors. The first thing the cancer specialist will do is establish a working relationship with the primary care physician. This means that the specialist will work closely with the primary care physician to develop a comprehensive pain management plan for the patient. Such plans would entail the use of different types of medication, alternative therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, alternative medication and various forms of pain control methods such as drug therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy and mechanical decompression.
While there are many types of pain management medication and devices, the most common are analgesics (pain relievers), antidepressants and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions are encouraged to seek medical advice from their personal physician. Doctors prescribe these medications based on the type of pain and the severity of the condition. People suffering from depression are also advised to get proper medical assistance.