What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is defined as ongoing or recurrent pain lasting three to six months or more. Sometimes chronic pain begins without any obvious cause. However, in most cases it starts after an injury or because of a health condition. Some common causes include:
• Past injury or surgery
• Back problems
• Migraines and headaches
• Nerve damage
• Fibromyalgia, a health condition that causes individuals to feel muscle pain throughout their bodies
How chronic pain feels varies from person to person and can depend on what’s causing the pain. It can range from mild to severe and be constant day to day or it may come and go. Here are some of the types of pain sufferers of chronic pain may experience:
• Dull ache
Effects of chronic pain
Chronic pain can affect just about every area of your life. It can take a toll on your mental health and your physical health in other ways outside of the pain you’re feeling. Some of the other ways chronic pain can affect your life are:
• Fatigue or feeling very tired and wiped out
• Loss of appetite
• Trouble sleeping
• Mood changes
• Lack of energy
• Prevent you from doing things you normally would
• Feeling angry, depress, anxious, or frustrated
• Increased stress
Often, there is a cycle that is created by the link between pain and your mental health. Chronic pain can cause you to feel more depressed and/or stressed which in turn can cause you to feel more pain. For that reason, antidepressants are sometimes used in the treatment of chronic pain.
Balanced pain management at Fisher-Titus
The Center for Pain management at Fisher-Titus takes a balanced pain management approach. This means that we incorporate five keys to ensure the highest quality of care:
• Consultative services. Your pain management team will remain in contact with your primary care physician.
• Pain specialists are part of Fisher-Titus. They are able to refer you to other hospital services such as lab testing, imaging, or physical therapy as needed.
• Qualified pain specialists. One of the physicians, board certified and fellowship trained in pain management, will assume primary care for your pain diagnosis and coordinate your treatment program to restore daily activities.
• Multi-modality approach. They will create a care plan that may incorporate a combination of treatments based on your specific diagnosis and pain.
• Form a relationship of responsibility. If opioids are recommended as part of your pain management, you will receive opioids from one physician, fill prescribed opioids at one pharmacy, have urine drug screenings and random pill counts, and will use appropriate behavior in the clinic.
There are several minimally invasive treatment methods we use based on your specific treatment plan:
• Spinal diagnostic procedures (neck, upper back, lower back)
• Epidural steroid injection
• Facet joint injection
• Radiofrequency treatment
• Spinal cord stimulation (SCS)
• Botox injection
• Selective nerve root block
• Celiac plexus block
• Stellate ganglion block
• Lumbar sympathetic block
• Trigger point injection
• Joint injection
Joshua D. Goldner, MD is a physician at the Fisher-Titus Pain Management Center who is board-certified in Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology and fellowship-trained in Interventional Pain Management. The Pain Management team also includes Dr. Zachary Zumbar and Amanda Springer, PA-C. If you think you are experiencing chronic pain, ask your primary care physician about a referral to the Fisher-Titus Pain Management Center. For more information, visit fishertitus.org/pain-management-center. Did you know April is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) awareness month?