I am not a pain management nurse per say, but find myself dealing with patient c/o both acute and chronic pain on a daily basis (I work on a med/surg unit). I did some research r/t pain management and found an interesting article in Medscape that was written by Dr. Khouzam from New Hampshire. The article states, "it is estimated that every year 40 million American adults will have debilitating headaches, 90 million will complain of joint pain, and about 100 million will report episodes of back pain." This information gives insight to the severity of recurrent pain that people suffer. I believe that effective pain management is a crucial factor in patients achieving wellness; however, I find that it is often difficult for patients to obtain adequate pain relief. On our unit, we administer a variety of pharmacologic agents and provide nonpharmachologic interventions such as distraction, repositioning, spiritual support, and patient teaching. The above mentioned article also includes surgery, psychotherapy, and rehabilitation as treatment options for chronic, nonmalignant pain. It also explains that pain clinics regard chronic pain as a disease with its own incidence, epidemiology, assessment and treatment. Multiple modalities are used in pain clinic treatment plans, including physical therapy, exercise, vocation evaluation, and rehabilitation programs. In addition, the article states that pain clinics are cost effective, remove patients from multiple pain medications, and promote the resumption of physical activities. It sounds like pain clinics are an excellent resource for those who suffer from chronic pain. I'm wondering in what areas of the US they are located? Keep up the good work.
Article located: http://nurses.medscape.com
Khouzam, H.R. (2000). Chronic pain and its management in primary care. South Med J, 93(10), 946-952.