Chronic pain is a serious and debilitating fact of life for far too many people. It has been
estimated that as much as 30% of the population suffers from some form of chronic pain
such as low back pain. The cost of chronic pain to our healthcare system is measured in
billions of dollars. Chronic pain can easily bring a strong willed person to their knees
despite their very best efforts. However, many people often have trouble understanding
why pain could ever be such a problem for people with pain. They think “Isn’t there a pill
for that?” The best way to understand why chronic pain is such a problem for people is to
walk a mile in their shoes.
Many people with chronic pain begin to fall into a downward spiral once the pain begins.
People often find that taking medications is helpful but that it is not sufficient to get them
back to work and enjoying life. Many people also find that pain medications can become
less effective for them over time and that they need to take more and more pills just to
function. Unfortunately, some patients do not receive much else other than medication to
treat their pain. These people linger on in life while suffering from pain that they cannot
manage very well.
Pain also has a way of shutting people out from enjoying life and doing things with their
friends and loved ones. People give up their favorite hobbies and become locked into a
very limited lifestyle where they just try to avoid doing anything that might cause them any
further pain. Now their physical conditioning can really deteriorate and they may lose or
gain a tremendous amount of weight. Many people then find themselves tired, depressed,
and anxious. They didn’t choose this pain to happen to them and now they feel helpless to
limit its power over them. All that they want is to be rid of this pain that has ruined their
lives. However, many people with chronic pain simply do not know there is a better way to
get treatment for chronic pain other than just using medications.
Numerous studies have found that the best solution to many peoples pain problems can be
found at a multidisciplinary pain center (MCP). Patients at a MCP received care from a
team of medical professionals that can aggressively target each part of their pain problem
to help reverse their downward spiral into an ascent into wellness. A physician with a
chronic pain specialty will work with the patient to review all the possible treatment methods
that can be used to help them in addition to the medications that they are already
receiving. Now these patients may have access to a whole new class of interventions
including nerve blocks, acupuncture, and other minimally invasive procedures. Physical
therapists will work with the patients to help them return to their current level of maximum
functioning. Psychologists address all of the suffering that these patients experience using
evidence-based techniques of psychotherapy such as biofeedback, cognitive behavior
therapy, hypnosis, and meditation. Patients at an MCP have access to a variety of
healthcare treatment professionals that work very closely together to help their patients.
Numerous studies have found that multidisciplinary treatment is the best approach for
many patients. Patients who receive treatment at an MCP are far more likely to return to a
higher level of functioning and to break their downward spiral into chronic pain. Some
patients even find later on that their struggle with chronic pain has brought them to a
deeper understanding of the meaning and value of life.
For more information you can contact Dr. Yibling Li at the Center for Pain Management
and Rehabilitation 309-689-8888.