Three signs it may be time to see a pain management specialist
Chronic pain is an invisible disease that is notoriously difficult to treat. Its cause may be obvious – such as injury or illness – but physicians often find it hard, even impossible, to pinpoint the reason a patient feels pain. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, which is usually defined as pain that has lasted for six months or more, it’s important to see a pain management specialist.
Pain management specialists are physicians specializing in finding the source of your pain and prescribing treatments and pain management solutions. Here are the top three signs that you may need to see a pain management specialist:
1. Your pain is severe and persistent
You are in pain every day. It’s so severe that you can’t focus on anything else. You’ve gone to the doctor and tried prescription medication, but nothing seems to help. You’ve read about different treatments, but you’re not sure which one is right for you. You have considered surgery, but you’re afraid of the risks.
2. You’ve tried rest, ice, and medication but they haven’t helped
In some cases, conservative methods such as rest, ice, and medication do not help to reduce pain and inflammation. You may need to try a combination of treatments before you find a solution that works for you. Pain specialists can help you consider different options and help you find one that best fits your needs.
3. It’s difficult to perform day-to-day activities
There are many different types of pain, and each person’s experience is unique. For some, the pain is so severe that they are unable to do many of the everyday things they enjoyed before their pain began. In these cases, people are often willing to try alternative treatments to find relief. When conservative treatments fail to help, doctors may recommend options such as interventional pain treatments or invasive surgery as a last resort. Surgery is an effective way to treat some medical conditions, but it’s important to speak to a pain specialist about the risks and benefits before you decide to undergo an invasive surgical procedure.
Interventional pain treatments for chronic pain
There are a few common types of outpatient treatments that can provide long-term pain relief, such as Boston Scientific’s drug-free and clinically proven pain management solutions. They are less invasive than many other surgical procedures and have a quicker recovery time; these treatments are often used when noninterventional methods have stopped working or when other surgical procedures are too aggressive:
SCS therapy is a procedure that uses an implanted device to deliver mild electrical impulses to your spinal cord. This interrupts the pain signals that your nerves send, which can help prevent you from feeling the pain.
This minimally invasive outpatient procedure uses a small spacer to relieve pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). LSS is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the nerves and causes pain.
RFA is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses thermal energy to interrupt pain signals at the source.
If you have been experiencing pain that has impacted your quality of life for six months or more, it is probably time to see a pain specialist. You can find a pain management specialist near you with our physician locator. And to find out which Boston Scientific pain solution may be right for you, take our quick quiz. After taking the quiz, you can download our Doctor Discussion Guide to help you prepare for your next doctor’s visit.
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†Superion™ Indirect Decompression System