Post date: February 15, 2018

We can take control of our chronic pain

Cronic Pain

An article from Health Plan of San Joaquin

As players on the stage of life, we sometimes get handed scripts we aren’t expecting. That’s certainly true when chronic pain takes a leading role in everyday living.

However, you have the power to limit the part pain plays in your life. You can direct the action in four pain-management acts:

Act One: Gather information

You probably already know plenty about chronic pain. You may be aware that chronic pain:

  • Is any pain that lasts six months or longer
  • Has many causes and can be hard to treat
  • Interferes with your ability to enjoy life

But do you know how many types of treatments are available? Do you know which health care professionals can help you? The more you know, the closer you come to bringing down the curtain on pain. Some of the information you need is included below.

Act Two: Meet with your doctor

He or she will first help determine the cause of your pain. They may prescribe imaging tests or electrodiagnostic procedures. You may also be referred to a pain specialist for further evaluation.

Finding a specific cause for your pain will help determine your treatment. In some cases, no cause will be found. This may be very frustrating, but it doesn’t take treatment out of the story line.

Act Three: Create a plan

A cast of health care professionals will come together to help you put a strategy in place. Your script for pain management may draw upon a variety of treatment options including one or more of the following:

  • Medication
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Biofeedback and electrical stimulation
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Chiropractic care

Doctors have come to understand that chronic pain is not just physical. It has psychological aspects as well. That’s why cognitive behavior therapy, antidepressants and general counseling are recommended as supporting players in a pain control plan.

Act Four: Follow-through

Making progress means committing to your plan and continually acting on it. That’s not always easy. It means you need to manage your stress, stay active and find a support network among friends and family. But it can be done. And the rewards are great—pain may still play a part in your life, but it won’t run the show.

Maria Aguglia, MSN/MHA, CCM, RN is the Director of Care Management/Utilization Management at Health Plan of San Joaquin. She said, “The most important message we send to our members is to empower them to discuss ALL options for pain management with their provider. Pain control can be achieved by multiple treatment option, either used alone or in combination.” Some of those options are listed above.

She also stresses: “Pain medication is not always the best treatment and can lead to other health issues. If one of our HPSJ members – or any patient – needs to take pain medication, they should always discuss the plan of care with their provider to ensure they are taking the medication for the least amount of time.”

To learn more about controlling chronic pain, visit the website of the American Chronic Pain Association, as well as the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

© Health Plan of San Joaquin, 2018 – permission granted to reprint