What is Pain Management
Aches and pain is something all of us would have experienced at some point in our lives. When the cause is identifiable like after a sports injury or surgery, it is easily managed by physical means such as icing or through short-term use pf painkillers. However, when pain remains for more than 3 months, it is considered "long-standing" or "chronic" and requires attention. Commonly we may feel a headaches, neckaches and backaches, or it might be a pain in our shoulder or foot. Any pain which interferes with your daily routine or disturbs your sleep should be looked at.
Pain can be described in many ways. To obtain a diagnosis, an accurate history will be taken. The doctor will ask about the level or intensity of pain, which is usually graded on a score of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most painful. In addition, we will check if there are any factors which make it worse or which my provide some relief. The frequency and duration of each episode, as well as the painkillers you may have taken in the past will also help in the diagnosis. In addition, for women, we would also need to check if there is any relationship to the menstrual cycle.
Simple Home Remedies
For simple sprains, the acronym "RICE" which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation works well.
For the occasional headaches which occur less than twice a month, relaxation and taking our mind off things may help.
For the above, and for minor aches and pains, over-the-counter pills or mixtures usually work after about half an hour.
Seeing a Doctor or Specialist
If the pain persist, you should visit a doctor for a more thorough analysis through both a questionnaire as well as a physical examine of the part which troubles you. The doctor may give you stronger painkillers or muscle relaxants, or may recommend certain investigations such as X-rays, CT scans or Magnetic Imaging Resonance scans (MRI's).
Commonly, physiotherapy may be recommended, with or without injections, to provide immediate pain relief. If pain is more severe and concerns the back or the spine, a more detailed scan is required before giving the injection. The injection usually comprises of a local anaesthetic and a steroid, which is used to reduce swelling if "inflammation" is suspected. In some cases, devices such as "shock wave therapy", "low-grade ultrasounds", "radiofrequency", "TENS nerve stimulation" or even electromagnetic fields may be recommended.
For many of us, the thought of surgery makes us shudder. Rest assured, all medical specialists will make a very thorough assessment first, before considering this option. You will be provided with information on all the different alternatives available to enable you to make an informed decision.
source: SingHealth Pain Management