If there’s anything that could be called a problem when it comes to treating pain in the U.S., it’s overdependence on medications. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released a report about the “silent epidemic” and the gaps that American clinicians have yet to take action on. The discoveries in the said document were alarming.
About a hundred million folks in America experience chronic pain, and 5-8% of them rely on opioids. While the therapy is truly effective in many cases, it also poses great risks, such as addiction and overdose. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control data cited in the NIH report shows a skyrocket of hospitalizations and death related to opioid dependence and overdose.
Of course, on several occasions, it’s not the clinician’s fault or intentional wrongdoing. A myriad of factors affect pain, and the current knowledge in treating it is far from perfect. Since medications can help and offer brief but instant relief, patients would certainly take what they can get.
The story can be different, however, when it comes to pain management in Atlanta. There are practices that do not mainly offer medication-dependent therapies. Their doctors don’t go straight to their prescription pads and give the patient fleeting relief. Some reputable facilities take a comprehensive approach, especially with patients experiencing chronic or cancer pain.
A Multifaceted View on Pain
The International Association for the Study of Pain defines the symptom as a “sensory and emotional experience”. The experts find it extremely important for health care providers to understand that aside from being physically felt, pain has serious psychological implications, particularly if it is constantly felt or if no relief is available. For some patients, it will be easy to identify the source of the pain (e.g. a damaged part of the spine, a growing tumor), but it will be difficult to pinpoint and explain it in cases like neuropathic pain, which involves complex nerve systems.
A Comprehensive Treatment Plan
Looking at the bigger picture, one ought to realize the need for an equally multifaceted approach to pain management. Experienced Atlanta pain doctors like those from Atlanta Spine and Anesthesia make it a point to study the patient’s health history, lifestyle, and condition through in-depth and technology-assisted assessments. The professionals will then craft a customized treatment plan that can include medications (not necessarily opioids) and therapeutic procedures to help the patient feel more comfortable and satisfied with the care provided.
(Source: The Problem With Treating Pain in America, TIME)