Pain is complex. It involves your nervous system–your nerves, spinal cord, and brain–but it also involves the subjective, emotional experience of pain. Acute pain, such as right after a surgery or a new problem such as a newly herniated disc, generally gets better on its own with time. Chronic pain–generally, pain lasting for more than 3 months–is especially complex and requires a comprehensive approach. Unlike an infection, which we can treat with antibiotics and make it go away, chronic pain is more like diabetes–something that needs to be managed with medications and lifestyle choices.
Often patients come and ask for something to “get rid of the pain” that they’ve had for years. While that is always the goal, often it is not possible to completely eliminate the pain, especially if it’s a result of a lifetime of wear and tear. Often, THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES. But together we can work to help bring your pain down to a tolerable or ignorable level. If your chronic pain is the elephant in the room, taking up so much space you can’t think of anything aside from the pain, waking you up at night, keeping you from working or playing or whathever your goals are, pain management can shrink the elephant into a shoebox, where it can just be set aside in the corner and tended to once in a while.