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Why Comprehensive Pain Treatment is Best

August 11th, 2014 · No Comments

This article is part of our series How You Can Benefit from Psychiatric Pain Management.

Comprehensive pain treatment – seeing several different types of health care providers – works best. Why should you work with a health care team?

1. Pain is complicated and takes a team of experts to help get you better

Pain is complicated and is caused by many different factors. Unfortunately, there’s usually not 1 simple treatment that will cure you. However, on the positive side, that means there are multiple ways to improve things. Seeking different types of treatment – doctor, pain psychiatrist/psychologist, physical therapist, massage therapist, acupuncturist, etc. – lets each person add something to your treatment. Hopefully, all the treatments together get you to a better place. Many times treatments work in concert with each other. For example, anesthetic injections work better is you’re not overly anxious or depressed. So treating anxiety can help medication be more effective.

2. Working with a team lets each provider focus on what (s)he does best

In a sense, this is the flip-side of #1. It means that you utilize each person on your health care team to your best advantage. Your appointment times are not unlimited, so focusing in on what each person does best means you’re taking advantage of the expertise of each person. As a psychiatrist, I notice this issue most often related to anxiety or depression. If you’re seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist, you can work on these issues in therapy. This lets you spend your time with your medical pain management doctor (neurologist, anesthesiologist, rheumatologist, etc) talking about medications, injections and other procedures, instead of unloading your stress with them. Often they don’t have time to do both. So you get appropriate treatment, and they don’t get overwhelmed trying to treat problems they’re not equipped for.

2 studies that look at comprehensive treatment are:

  • Rational integration of pharmacologic, behavioral and rehabilitation strategies in the treatment of chronic pain, Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2005, 84: S64-76
  • Efficacy of multidisciplinary pain centers in the treatment of chronic pain, Prog Pain Res Manage 1996, 7:257-74

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