Pain management is a complex field of medicine. Physicians go to school for decades to fully understand all the existing medications, conditions, and procedures. Patients who haven’t gone through medical school can be overwhelmed simply by the terms and words that are commonly used when talking about pain management. In this article, we are going to define some of the more common terms you may run into if you suffer from a pain condition.
Perhaps the most general characterization of pain is acute vs. chronic. Acute pain refers to any pain that resolves and does not come back after an injury. For example, when you stub your toe on the couch and the pain subsides after a day or two – that is acute pain. Chronic pain is recurring. It may subside from time to time, but it keeps coming back. Fibromyalgia is a common example of a chronic pain condition.
From the perspective of pain management, tolerance develops when a patient takes too much of a medication, resulting in the lessening of its effectiveness. This can sometimes lead to addiction, when a patient takes more of a medication because it’s not working, until they get to the point that they are dependent on the drug.
A blanket term for a medication or treatment focused on pain relief.
A procedure to reduce nerve-related pain, in which a solution is injected into a patient’s nerves to disrupt the pain signals sent to the brain.
Opioids are narcotic pain relief drugs that are prescribed to patients for pain control. These drugs are highly addictive and need to be closely managed by a pain management physician to avoid patient addiction.
Palliative care refers to any pain management treatment plan focused on treating chronically ill or terminally ill patients.
At Advanced Spine & Pain Clinics of MN, our Edina-based pain management physicians have been helping patients with chronic pain conditions for the past two decades. If you are suffering through life in pain, make the decision to do something about your pain. Our chronic pain specialists can help you get to the bottom of your pain and offer options for treatment that fit your needs. Call today to set up your own appointment with one of our pain management doctors.