September is Pain Awareness Month in the U.S. Pain doctors, patient advocates, and media outlets all join forces throughout the month to raise awareness of chronic pain and its effect on daily life. Now that Pain Awareness Month 2021 is behind us for another year (at the time of this writing), it remains to be seen whether all the efforts paid off. Perhaps most important is whether greater awareness will change the way that doctors approach chronic pain treatment.
If you suffer from chronic pain, what is your doctor’s approach? You might not be getting the best possible care if all your doctor does is reach for the prescription pad whenever you visit. Prescription pain medications do have a role to play in managing chronic pain, but they are not the be-all and end-all of pain treatments.
Finding the Root Causes of Pain
Writing an antibiotic prescription in order to fight a bacterial infection makes perfect sense. Antibiotics are the perfect solution to such infections. Treating chronic pain is not so easy. Why? Because pain is not a condition in and of itself. It is not identifiable in the same way as bacteria. Rather, pain is almost always a symptom of some other condition.
Unfortunately, treating chronic pain with prescription pain medication makes about as much sense as treating a bacterial infection with chicken soup. Pain medication doesn’t get to the root cause. All it does is alleviate a symptom the patient is complaining about.
It is understandable that doctors find treating pain so difficult. There are so many things that can cause it. From muscle pulls to arthritic joints to cancerous tumors, there are so many possibilities that doctors and patients alike can find the task of identifying root causes overwhelming.
A More Holistic Approach
Despite the difficulty of treating chronic pain, simply turning to the prescription pad and hoping for the best isn’t the right way to go about it. A better approach is the holistic approach. A doctor who practices holistically doesn’t just zero-in on symptoms. They look at the big picture. They seek to know and understand the patient’s entire health history.
Lone Star Pain Medicine is a Weatherford, Texas pain clinic that tends to take a more holistic approach. Their philosophy is one of treating both the symptom of pain and its underlying root cause. Furthermore, Lone Star doctors are not quick to reach for the prescription pad. Whenever possible, they look to utilize other treatments that actually address pain rather than just masking it.
A good example of a holistic approach would be combining platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell injections with physical therapy to treat osteoarthritis. The injections are designed to promote the natural replacement of lost cartilage while physical therapy strengthens the muscles and tendons in support of affected joints. The two combined will hopefully alleviate the patient’s pain.
You Are in Control
The lesson in all of this is that you are ultimately in control of your own healthcare. If your doctor’s approach to treating your chronic pain goes no further than writing prescriptions for pain medication, you do not have to settle for such limited treatment. You can always visit a pain doctor who specializes in discovering and treating root causes.
So, what is your doctor’s approach to treating chronic pain? Far too many rely almost exclusively on pain medication. That is unfortunate because pain medication rarely addresses what is causing a patient’s pain. Finding and treating the root cause could actually eliminate the need for pain medication altogether. Doesn’t that seem like a better approach?