Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

What is Pain Management

Many of these injured individuals will have chronic and perhaps severe permanent pain. They often seem to float from one pain management program to the next. There is a difference between pain _treatment_ and pain _management._

A pain treatment programs with its various procedures and medications seeks to lower the pain that the patient experiences. By contrast, true pain management would teach the patient how to cope with chronic pain and life a functional life, not merely seek seemingly endless care.

Ideally pain treatment programs would have a specified end-point. When a patient is told that they are being sent to a _pain center,_ they either believe that their pain will be completely resolved and/or they will meet in groups with similar patients to share their common concerns.

What we most often see, however, is that the patient is treated with a variety of procedures:

a. Without being prepared for the permanence of their condition

b. Without being taught what they can do to minimize their own experience of pain.

The latter is especially critical. If they are in a pain program, passively responding to seemingly endless treatment, they are not assuming responsibility for their own existence when that treatment ends.

Most of these patients are deconditioned, laying about watching television, developing even worse health habits. What needs to be done is to teach these patients what they can do with their time, their family relationships, their own (often distortion) thinking and the productive activities that enables them a functional existence.

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