Counseling is an inherent and vitally important component of every provider/patient interaction. Counseling takes many forms and generally consumes much of the time spent in an office visit.
Patient education plays a crucial role in helping us empower patients. Teaching our patients to recognize the behaviors that hinder their rehabilitation and suggest options for better choices is an important tool in pain management.
We encourage our patients to include gentle exercise as an absolutely essential element in their rehabilitation. Under the guidance of the provider and/or a physical therapist, we help our patients develop a realistic exercise program that will allow the patient to slowly improve range or motion and strength.
Pain is often associated with increased stress, depression, and anxiety that were sometimes present well before the pain began. We identify those situations that exacerbate these conditions and then develop strategies to manage them.
Some medications used in the treatment of pain can be habit forming (addictive). Addiction is different from physical dependence or tolerance, however. Physical dependence implies that withdrawal symptoms occur when the medication is suddenly stopped. Tolerance occurs when the initial dose of a substance loses its effectiveness over time. Both tolerance and physical dependence occur with all patients who take chronic opioid medications for their pain. Features of addition include not just physical dependence and tolerance, but also psychological dependence and drug seeking behaviors. In general, the risk of addiction is minor when narcotics are used under proper medical supervision.