One of the greatest challenges people with pain face is access to appropriate care. Although chronic pain disables more than 50 million Americans, chronic pain sufferers are among the most undertreated patients in the United States.
According to The National Pain Foundation, pain accounts for 80 percent of all physician visits, yet sufferers are often shuffled from one health care provider to another without relief.
“Pain patients wrongly believe that pain is something they must accept as part of their lives – that it’s associated with their injury, that it’s part of their disease or that it’s a natural part of growing older,” said Dr. Robert L. Tiso of the New York Pain Center. “What they need to realize is that pain isn’t something they have to accept. They can find relief with proper pain management.”
Pain physicians recommend patients take control of their pain by researching pain and pain management options and by seeking a referral to a pain specialist who knows how to treat pain effectively.
Pain physicians focus on the evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of persons in pain. Some pain physicians work with one therapy while others are multidisciplinary and offer a number of different treatments, which range from medication management to advanced therapies like spinal cord stimulation.
Several resources are available to help patients find a pain physician and learn about treatment options.
Once patients have identified a pain physician, they can take several steps to prepare for their visit:
* Check to see that the pain provider is in your insurance network.
* Find out if the pain clinic requires a referral.
* Visit http://www.paintyourpain .com to create and print a “map” of your pain.
* Gather your medical records for your visit.
“The best advice I have for other pain suffers is to seek specialized help,” said Michelle Revello, a chronic pain sufferer who was treated effectively by a pain management specialist. “We all call in expert help for trivial household inconveniences like a leaky sink. We should all do the same for our bodies.”