What treatment is available for chronic pain?

What treatment is available for chronic pain?

Pain can affect everyone, it doesn’t discriminate.

Most people will experience an episode of severe pain at some point in their life. For 20% of adults, this pain is persistent and associated with loss; loss of function, identity, in some cases mental health, and in many, loss of the life they had.

Prevalence rates for Irish people suffering with chronic pain range from 13-35.5% of the population. Access to pain treatment is a fundamental human right and society needs to act collectively to provide integrated, multidisciplinary, evidenced-based care to pain sufferers.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain persists longer than three months, either continually or episodically and has no useful function. It can be a result of an injury, an ongoing pathology (e.g.arthritis), involvement of the nervous system (e.g. post herpetic neuralgia (shingles)) or from an unknown or uncertain cause (e.g. fibromyalgia)

Many people in Ireland suffer with severe chronic pain that can affect their work, daily activities and relationships. It has a huge personal and societal impact.

Access to treatment is a fundamental human right

Since the Declaration Montreal(2010), access to pain management is considered a fundamental human right. We know that pain is the primary reason people seek help from healthcare providers and is the main complaint in general practice, pharmacy practice and in the emergency room.

Who treats chronic pain?

Chronic pain is often challenging to treat and general practitioners are usually the first doctors to treat pain in patients. (Then doctors usually sent their patients to our clinic...Thai Clinic)

Patients may be referred to:

  • An orthopaedic surgeon with joint pain
  • A rheumatologist with inflammatory or autoimmune associated pain
  • A neurologist with neurological issues such as migraine/headache
  • A spinal surgeon due to neck, back or radiating pain like sciatica
  • A consultant pain specialist or a pain clinic for chronic pain management

What treatment is available for chronic pain?

Patient-centred care may include medication, diagnostic and therapeutic minimally-invasive procedures, and multidisciplinary care including physiotherapy and psychological therapy.

A patent who has persistent and severe pain, that has not responded to or is not suitable for surgery or medical treatment by other specialists, should be referred to a pain specialist. Pain specialists are consultant medical doctors whose training and qualifications are approved by the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the College of Anaesthesiology. 

A pain self-management programme can help patients develop tools to enjoy life, such as pain education, medication management, activity pacing, graduated exercise and psychological tools including cognitive behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques and others.

Diet and nutrition advice from a dietitian and work and activity advice from an occupational therapist can also be very helpful.

As mentioned above in the article, medication,diet and occupational therapist, all of these can be enhanced or work beside Thai Medicine. 

 

resources:Independent supplement by Mediaplanet Thursday 09 May 2019

Joanne O’Brien; President,Irish Pain Society

Dr.Tadhg Lynch; Consultant Pain Specialist, Kilkenny and Dublin

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