Life Care Planning for Chronic Pain Conditions
Conditions causing chronic pain bring new patients to BiFulco Medical Group on a regular basis and have done so for many years. This is a sad but honest reality. This is also the reason why chronic pain and its appropriate treatments are some of the most common components of a life care plan. In the life care planning profession, our work is done not only to manage chronic pain effectively but to do so in the most conservative and least invasive way possible. Below, we dive into detail on some of the best ways to achieve chronic pain relief and management. First, however, I want people who do not deal with chronic pain themselves (and those who do) to understand it a little better.
What is Chronic Pain?
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines chronic pain, in part, as such:
“While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.”
Not all chronic pain stems from neurological injury. Most doctors will classify a condition as “chronic pain” when it lasts 6 months or longer. For some people, it begins either with an illness or an injury/accident. The pain may burn, shoot, sting, throb, or manifest as soreness. And pain is just the beginning; chronic pain conditions are closely related to issues with sleep, appetite, mood, activity, and more.
It is important to understand that pain is subjective and cannot accurately be measured. Despite the advances in modern medicine, we are not capable of measuring the exact amount of pain you are feeling. We utilize the visual analog scale (VAS) instead. This is used in clinical and home settings with a grade of 0-10 for pain at any given time.
Chronic Pain Relief Without Medication
There are many prescription and non-prescription compounds available for chronic pain. Each and every one is touted to be the next best thing. Please understand: if this were true, most of them would not exist.
Instead, we attempt to find chronic pain relief alternatives in physical therapy, exercise programs, and sleep restoration. The impact of good rest and movement on chronic pain levels cannot be overstated — it is crucial. New non-medication modalities for chronic pain are coming into the market every single day. These advances in pain management include cognitive, behavioral, and physical therapies. Many patients incorporate yoga, massage, and acupuncture. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is another common non-medicated tactic for stimulating nerves and muscles to trigger the release of endorphins.
You Do Not Have To Suffer From Chronic Pain
In summary: chronic pain is real, it is debilitating, and it can affect every aspect of a patient’s life, happiness, and wellness. It is a serious problem and should be taken seriously by your life care planner. We want our patients to avoid narcotic and potentially addictive medications unless we determine these are necessary. The same goes for surgery, which is highly invasive, and injections, which oftentimes provides temporary relief and are invasive as well. If you are suffering from chronic pain and its associated challenges — loss of function, altered sleep, depression and anxiety, and deteriorating relationships — there is hope. Contact my team today to book a consultation.