Most of us think of arthritis as an “old person’s” aches and pains. But it is actually a disease and can affect people of all ages. It helps to understand how arthritis affects the body first and then you’ll have a better understanding how a pain center can help.
In between our bones are the joints that allow our body to move and provide support too. When those joints are damaged by disease or from an injury, it can interfere with any movement and cause pain. Some of the conditions that can cause pain in the joints are:
Joint pain is so common that a recent survey nationwide showed that in the last 30 days approximately 1/3 of all adults complain about joint pain with knee pain being the most common. Hip pain and shoulder pain were the next most common areas that were complained about.
Joint pain can be mild and it can be debilitating, it may last for just a week or so, which is referred to as acute pain. Or it may last for weeks, months, non-stop which is referred to as chronic pain. No matter how mild or strong, no matter how long or short it last, it affects your life. This is when you need pain management by way of a doctor or a pain specialist.
If you go to your regular doctor and they aren’t able to relieve your pain or find what is causing it, they may refer you to a pain center. At the pain center, they assign a specialist to your case, who will review your files.
They will look to see where your pain is located and when it is bothering you most and what kind of medication or treatment has been done to-date. They may order some testing to be done which can include blood work and x-rays. Once they have all this information together, they then determine what type of pain management therapy is best for you.
What the pain center specialist will start with is a way to reduce the inflammation that is causing the pain. Then they will try to restore the joint function. They may try one of the following, or even a combination of medication therapy, physical therapy or other alternatives. The alternatives may include injections, topical agents and sometimes surgery.
This is the benefit of being referred to a pain center: They have the educated and trained staff that can administer and perform all the possible different therapies. As the pain specialist designs a pain management plan, they will often confer with the referring doctor.