By Dr. Nina Radcliff
Understanding our vulnerability to acute and chronic pain has been the topic for the past several weeks. Everyone, at some point in life experiences the misery of pain. And facts are that when acute pain goes away, a person can generally go on with life as usual. In contrast, chronic pain is ongoing and too many times outlasts the normal time of healing, with no recognizable end-point.
The overarching goal of managing chronic pain is to draw upon the resilience and courage from within to take healthy steps forward, with viable options. And an important part of this process is developing a good support system (including physicians, clinicians, family and friends). While it may not be possible to completely eliminate pain from diseases such as osteoarthritis, there are steps we can take in order to help gain control. This can minimize suffering while improving the level of function and quality of life.
Last week, the focus was on some conservative treatment options that a chronic sufferer can discuss with their physician. This week we continue with more options (medication, surgery and minimally invasive techniques) as well as some key understandings. The therapy of chronic pain should rely on a good support team with a depth of understanding of multidisciplinary approaches which involve more than one therapeutic option.