In the last decade, we have made great strides in the understanding of pain and its treatment. Pain that was once considered hopeless is now manageable. However, there are still common misconceptions about pain, which prevent people from seeking the help they need and deserve. We hope that by dispelling these myths, it will help to raise awareness and encourage more people to seek help with a professional trained in treating chronic pain.
Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists for at least six months. It may result from an initial injury or problem, such as a herniated disk, serious infection, or surgery. There may be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis, scar, or cancer. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about pain management:
MYTH #1: There is a High Risk of Addiction to Pain Medication
Many people have the misconception that pain management specialists primarily rely on pain medications as their means of treatment. Fortunately, this is not the case. In fact, one of the goals of a pain specialist is to prevent people from requiring chronic dosing of pain medications.
We always begin with a conservative approach to pain relief and prescribe non-narcotic pain-relief medications, which are not addictive. Doctors may prescribe narcotics, such
as codeine and morphine if pain becomes severe, and these are designed to be used on a short-term basis.
MYTH #2: Pain management therapies only work for certain kinds of pain.
When people think of pain management, they often first think of neck and low back pain. Although this can describe a majority of our patients, we also treat many other sites and sources of pain such headaches, shoulder, knee, abdominal, and pelvic pain.
MYTH #3: Pain Management is a “tool of last resort.”
Often times our patients come to us after having exhausted every other treatment they can think of, however, it does not have to be that way. In fact, if you are experiencing any acute or chronic pain, there is a good chance we can help you right now. We recommend you visit with a pain specialist now, before the quality of your life is affected.
MYTH #4: It’s all your head
Pain is a complex problem, involving both the mind and the body. For instance, back pain has no known cause in many cases, and stress can make it worse. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Pain is an invisible problem that others can’t see, but that doesn’t mean it’s all in your head.
MYTH #5: You just have to learn to live with the pain
Fortunately, there are countless options for pain relief. They include relaxation techniques, exercise, physical therapy, over-the-counter and prescription medications, surgery, and complementary treatments such as massage. It may not always be possible to completely control your pain, but you can use many techniques to help manage it much better.