What Are the Effects of Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain exacts an enormous toll on the nation’s health care costs, rehabilitation, and lost worker productivity, not to mention the financial stress it places on patients, families, employers, and communities. The costs of unrelieved pain can result in:
- Extended hospital stays
- Increased rates of rehospitalization
- Greater outpatient visits
- Reduced capacity to function normally resulting in lost income and insurance coverage
Over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain – that’s more than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. Pain is a universal experience but unique for every individual. Chronic pain is different from acute pain because it lingers. The pain signals in the nervous system continue to fire for weeks, months, and even years. Severe chronic pain affects physical and mental functioning, quality of life, and productivity.
Chronic pain is usually the result of a previous illness or injury — a sprained back, severe infection, persistent migraines, or neurogenic pain (damage to the nerves); it can also persist because of an ongoing condition such as arthritis or cancer. However, some patients experience chronic pain for no apparent reason at all.
The economic cost of chronic pain in adults, including health care expenses and lost productivity, is estimated at between $560–630 billion per year.
What is Pain Management?
Chronic pain can be a complex matter often involving an array of physical, medical, and psychological factors. Pain management aims to treat all types of pain including musculoskeletal, spinal and neuropathic pain conditions.
A pain management specialist can accurately diagnose the source of the problem and intervene early, so patients do not spiral into a state of chronic pain. For those already suffering from long-term discomfort, pain management can help them decrease the severity of pain and enhance their quality of life.
Pain management has become critical and increasingly relied upon by primary care physicians, orthopaedic doctors, and neurologists to treat their patients effectively.
“I was ready to have back surgery but my physician, Dr. Prasher, recommended I see Dr. Ramos,” says Ray. “Dr. Ramos told me ‘no, you don’t need surgery.’ I was one of Dr. Ramos’ first patients when he first started at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, and he was like a godsend to us. I couldn’t do anything, the muscle spasms in my back were so bad.”
How is Pain Management Treatment Performed?
Dr. Ramos offers tailor-made treatment programs to fit his patients’ needs and lifestyle using noninterventional and minimally-invasive treatments. In conjunction with pain management treatment, patients may also undergo physical therapy to help them restore function through nonsurgical exercises and therapy.
To diagnose the source of pain, Dr. Ramos will assess a patient’s condition and develop a treatment plan targeting the source of the discomfort. The cause and extent of the pain will determine the diagnosis and treatment. Based on his findings, Dr. Ramos may use several different techniques to provide pain relief and make the pain tolerable on a day-to-day basis.
With his pain management program administered by Dr. Ramos, Ray used trigger point injections and was able to decrease his pain medication, making a considerable difference in his quality of life.
“We started with muscles relaxants and pain medication,” says Ray. “And then we tried pain-trigger injections, and I got immediate relief.”
Dr. Ramos initiated procedures that allowed patient and doctor to work together to accomplish Ray’s pain management goals. Ray is now able to go fishing again and plans to get back on the golf course as soon as he is cleared to play.
Ray credits the whole staff at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for his safe and swift recovery. “Everybody is just great,” he says. “If you need anything, you call, and they’ll get you in as soon as they can. Dr. Ramos is that good. You can take my word for it or come and try him yourself. I’m going to physical therapy here, and that’s working. I’ve already recommended so many people to him.”
Ray was also very impressed with Dr. Ramos’ interpersonal and communication skills. “His bedside manner is unbelievable,” he says. “He’s a regular down to earth guy. He talks to you like a human being, not a sophisticated-type doctor…which he is.“
To learn more about Dr. Ramos and how he can help you manage pain with less medication, please feel free to contact us.