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Medications for managing your pain

There are many considerations when starting someone on a medication for pain management not least what type of pain they have. Medications for pain management come in many forms such as patches, pills, infusions and creams.

In addition the medications used in chronic pain are a significant source of concern for many patients. You might be worried that these medications will cause addiction, profound side effects and don’t help long term.  Others have concerns that medications will be reduced unnecessarily even if effective.

We aim to use better medications that are more likely to be effective, and specific to the pain syndromes experienced.  We particularly aim to minimise opioid medication usage of opioids for all of our patients whilst remaining pragmatic.

 

Evidence show how opioid medications help in acute pain (in the short term) but can cause profound issues in the long term.

Image by Christine Sandu
Vaccine

Interventions for pain management

It is important to remember that not all conditions that cause pain can be helped by interventions.  If someone has pain felt throughout their body there is little opportunity to use a procedure to help. In addition, an intervention if appropriate must be coupled with other forms of treatment.

Interventions in pain cover a wide range of procedures from simple injections all the way up to implanted spinal techniques. However they are often day case procedures with low risk and complications and mostly done with a local anaesthetic and sometimes a sedative.

The usual approach is to do a nerve block to assess the source of the pain. Then we can do longer term treatments such as radiofrequency. This works by providing a small electric current to the nerves carrying pain.

 

In pulsed radiofrequency we are just trying to calm a nerve down and get it to stop sending pain signals. This is used in pelvic pain, post surgical pain and some back and leg pain.

In radiofrequency neurotomy we are producing a very small burn to a nerve that we want to stop working. These nerves are only good at sending pain signals so damaging them on purpose is useful. 

As in all pain conditions though an intervention is only one part of the process to pain management. The patient should also engage with a physiotherapist for movement and rehabilitation.

Allied Health Solutions

In almost all situations, your pain won’t be managed optimally without involving other highly skilled professionals, such as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Psychologists, for example. This is because there are many domains to pain management and many effects from living with chronic pain.

It is not surprising to think that someone with long term back pain for example would have impaired mobility and that their mood has taken a hit as a result.  When the pain is improved they will require reconditioning from an exercise physiologist and while their mood is affected they will require support from a psychologist.

We are developing our allied health services locally including good links with trusted professionals throughout Melbourne and Victoria.

Leg Injury
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