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Pain Medicine: A Specialty in Need of Alternative Treatments

by jenny
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The fight to legalize medical cannabis has led to consumers becoming more aware of alternative medical treatments. Meanwhile, traditional medicine continues its longstanding practice of opposing alternatives. Thankfully, there is one medical specialty that has been more receptive to alternative treatments in recent years: pain medicine.

Among all the medical specialties, pain management is most in need of alternatives. Our healthcare system has relied on prescription painkillers and invasive surgeries for far too long. Neither option is university appropriate for managing chronic pain.

Different Kinds of Pain

Pain management doctors can find themselves up against a brick wall when faced with a scenario in which a patient absolutely cannot find even minimal relief. A lot of the difficulty in pain management is the direct result of there being so many kinds of pain.

Simply put, there is no single type of pain. All pain does not feel the same. It is not all caused by the same thing. There is as much variation in the pain experience as there are people suffering from chronic pain. To drive home the point, here are just some of the types of pain doctors are asked to address:

  1. Acute – Acute pain is temporary pain. It is the result of some sort of illness, injury, or disease that is expected to resolve on its own over time. Postoperative pain is a good example.

  1. Chronic – Chronic pain is pain that lasts over an extended amount of time. It is often the result of some underlying condition. However, it doesn’t have to be. There are cases in which pain is the condition itself.

  1. Neuropathic – Neuropathic pain is the result of nerve damage. Diabetics are known to experience neuropathic pain in the extremities, particularly the feet.

  1. Nociceptive – Nociceptive pain is like neuropathic pain except the patient is dealing with tissue damage rather than nerve damage. It affects tissues like muscle, bone, and skin.

  1. Nonspecific – Nonspecific pain is pain that cannot be attributed to a known cause. A doctor doesn’t know what is behind it and, as a result, might not know how to treat it.

These five types of pain are only the starting point. Pain management doctors sometimes deal with psychogenic pain. Other times, they are helping patients deal with cancer pain. The list goes on and on. The point is that pain is by no means uniform.

Threshold, Perception, and Response

If so many kinds of pain weren’t enough, pain medicine doctors also have to account for differences in pain threshold, pain perception, and how patients respond to treatments.

Imagine a Utah resident with an active Medical Card making an appointment to see a medical provider at KindlyMD. That person’s pain threshold won’t be identical to any other patient’s. A level of pain that puts him in tears could be tolerated fairly well by someone else.

KindlyMD clinicians explain that there is a link between pain threshold and pain perception. A person whose pain perception is unusually negative is more likely to have a lower pain threshold, and vice-versa. But like pain threshold, perceptions vary from one patient to the next.

Wrapping it all up is the fact that people respond differently to pain treatments. This is partly due to differences in pain threshold and perception. But it is also partly due to the fact that no two bodies are identical.

All these things play into the reality that prescription medications and surgeries are not a universal solution to pain. Pain medicine doctors need access to alternative treatments if they hope to help

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