5 Things to Look for in a Pain Management Plan
Pain can be debilitating. It can affect your sleep, work performance and relationships with others. Pain management is a critical component to living an active life free of pain. At our Denver pain clinic we offer personalized care for patients suffering from chronic or acute pain, as well as educating them on the benefits of physical therapy and rehabilitation services that may help manage their condition more effectively. In this blog post, we will discuss 5 things to look for when choosing a doctor for your new pain management plan.
1. Mobility. Think about how much you are able to move without pain. The doctor should be able to tell you what your options for mobility are and which would work best with your lifestyle.
- Can I walk? Am I in need of a wheelchair or crutches if at all possible?
- Do my joints, such as hips or knees hurt when moving?
- How do you feel when trying to move?
- What are your goals for pain management, such as being able to walk without pain or be more active at work?
- Are sports or exercise part of your mobility goals?
The doctor should also ask about how much activity and weight bearing they can handle. Different people have different limits on what their bodies can tolerate before they experience the limits of their discomfort. It's also important to consider when you have hobbies like sports, martial arts, or fitness that require certain mobility goals to be met.
2. Interaction. The quality of our social connections is important for our mental and physical health. The doctor should be eager to hear about your needs, explain what the plan will look like for you, answer any questions that come up during treatment or even offer some general counseling if needed.
- Do they take time to listen?
- Do they ask how much of a role the patient has in their own care?
- Do they listen without interrupting?
- Do they validate your concerns?
- Do they offer a time to check in?
- Can you discuss your pain management needs privately without fear of judgement or reprimand?
- Are there any unspoken rules about what is and isn't acceptable to bring up with the doctor, such as how much pain relief you might want at one time?
At the end of the day, your doctor should make you feel like they are listening, and that your concerns and pain management goals are important.
3. Independence. Sometimes being in pain can leave you feeling like your life is on hold or that you are at the mercy of others. You may need to take more breaks during the day, have assistance with tasks such as bathing or getting dressed, and spend more time in bed.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does their plan help me maintain my independence?
- Do they offer any physical therapy options for aftercare?
- How long will pain relief last?
- Do they have a plan to help me if my pain returns after treatment ends?
- How reliant will I be on medication or the other treatment methods employed?
A Pain Management Plan should leave you with a sense of control and independence. Your doctor's ultimate goal should be to restore your ability to care for your own needs, and potentially eliminate or reduce your reliance on treatment to whatever extent is possible.
4. Validation. If you’re like most people with chronic pain, you probably feel really misunderstood. A plan should validate your feelings and thoughts on how life has changed since you developed pain. Your doctor needs to be invested in understanding the impact of living with chronic pain, which is different for everyone who suffers from it. They also need to be willing to work collaboratively with you; Pain Management should be tailored to your specific needs and goals. That might mean relief from chronic pain, better mobility or a reduction in reliance on treatment. For some people that could involve surgery; for others medication only is sufficient. Your doctor should have recommendations based on what they know about you specifically, and use their experience to match YOUR needs. Some questions to ask yourself regarding if a pain management plan validates your situation:
- Are they interested in hearing about what pain means to me?
- Does their plan match my situation?
- Is there a sense they understand what it feels like to be in pain?
- Do they take my concerns seriously without judgment?
- Do they respond as if they are listening to my medical history?
5. Love. It's so important to remember that you don't need to be in constant pain, and you are deserving of compassion and care. It is hard to live in pain, and it can drastically effect our mood and relationships. It is important to remember that even if you are struggling, we all deserve to feel safe and loved. Seek out a doctor who is able to maintain professional objectivity but also leave you feeling like your life and your goals matter.
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