Texas pain management doctors know that a lot of different things cause pain. A pain doctor approaches your pain management problem from all directions. This therapy uses moist heat, cryotherapy, ultrasound, phonophoresis, lontophoresis, and massage.
Other medical specialties represented in pain management are: anesthesiology, neurosurgery and internal medicine. Your doctor may also refer you for services from occupational medicine specialists, social workers or complementary medicine practitioners.
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While some types of pain are caused by things like headaches, and other types of pain are caused by things like surgery, the field of pain management treats all of it as a disease. This allows for the application of science, and the latest advances in medicine to relieve your pain. And while many patients, especially those in chronic pain, see a psychiatrist or therapist as part of the experience, learning to cope with pain is less and less the focus of pain management treatment.
The goal of pain management is to minimize pain, improve function and increase your quality of life.
In pain management, there are two types of pain: Acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute pain may begin suddenly and is often described as feeling sharp. It is likened to the body's warning system signaling something is wrong. Even with pain management acute pain may last 3 to 6 months. Patterns of recovery from acute pain are usually predictable and aid in developing a treatment plan. Pain specialists realize it is important to control acute pain to prevent it from becoming chronic.
Causes of acute pain include:
Chronic pain, in pain management, is defined as lasting longer than 6 months, is persistent and may be severe. Chronic pain is more difficult to treat. A multidisciplinary approach, involving several specialists who offer treatment separately or simultaneously, has become a standard of care. Such specialists include physiatrists and anesthesiologists.
Chronic pain affects you physically and emotionally. Physical symptoms include muscle tension, loss of mobility, lack of energy and appetite. The emotional affects can be similarly devastating and include depression, anger and anxiety.
Causes of chronic pain can include:
There are many other kinds of pain that can be described as acute or chronic in pain management. Some of these types of pain are:
Myofascial pain is caused by painful trigger points that develop in a muscle or a group of muscles. A trigger point is a locally sensitive and tender area in a muscle or where a muscle and fascia (band-like tissue encasing muscle) meet. Myofascial pain may cause 'referred pain' because when a trigger point is pressed the pain may be felt elsewhere. This pain may be chronic and described as nagging, burning, aching or stabbing.
Psychogenic pain is real physical pain caused by a psychological problem. This means the pain is caused by the patient's mental or emotional issues.
Radicular pain, or radiculitis, is caused by inflammation of a spinal nerve root. Other associated terms are 'cervical radiculitis' or 'lumbar radiculitis' meaning the pain originates from a cervical (neck) or lumbar (low back) spinal nerve. Sciatica is a commonly used term to describe pain that descends into the leg. Different disorders can cause spinal nerve compression, inflammation and pain. A spinal tumor or cyst, disc herniation, spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis can cause radiculitis.
Somatic pain is caused by bodily injury or other event affecting the pain receptors in the skin, ligaments, muscles, bones, or joints. This pain may be chronic and is sometimes associated with cancer.