The most effective pain management model requires both patients and clinicians to be proactive and work collaboratively in the treatment plan. We all play an essential role in ensuring that chronic conditions can be successfully mitigated.
Prior to starting a treatment plan, we need to assess the degree to which physical, psychological and social factors contribute to a patient's pain. During the assessment, we take the time to empathetically and non-judgmentally listen to the patient's story.
Once we are able to determine what we can do for the patient and what they can do for themselves, we then help the patient become aware of the factors in their life that affect their pain. The methods used to increase this awareness are chosen based on the individual's abilities and preferences. Examples include: meditation, biofeedback, proprioceptive taping of muscles and joints, controlled movements such as Yoga and of course, education about the factors associated with pain.
Becoming aware of the factors that contribute to pain can be especially challenging for individuals who have experienced physical or psychological trauma. For these patients, we offer various therapeutic approaches to help them heal their scars.
Achieving awareness is important to understanding pain, but the key to ensuring lasting relief is to change the bad habits that are prolonging the pain.
These habits can include:
- Improper use of the body (i.e. how you move it, how much rest you give it and how you nourish it);
- Improper regulation of thoughts and feelings; and
- Unhealthy social interactions.
Since there are many factors that can cause and prolong chronic pain, there is no single treatment that is effective for everyone. To understand and care for a person struggling with pain, a team approach is vital and treatment plans must be tailored to individual needs. This allows us to focus only on the therapies that work for each patient.