Today, 15 to 20 percent of Americans suffer from chronic pain. The overwhelming majority suffers from back pain — and that number will only increase as baby boomers age.
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Chronic pain persists for more than three months. In contrast, acute pain resolves soon after an injury or surgery.
“Your quality of life can dramatically improve if you find specialty care to manage chronic pain and work with your doctor in a well-outlined treatment program,” says Daniel Leizman, MD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Pain Management.
Yet people may wait years to see a doctor.
Don’t hesitate to seek care
You’re overdue for help when pain:
- Interferes with your ability to work
- Hampers everyday activities
- Keeps you in the house
- Isolates you from family, friends and the community
- Sends you from doctor to doctor for stronger painkillers
How experts can help
A pain management specialist’s first goal is get to the root of the problem, considering many factors to zero in on your specific pain triggers.
“First we need to identify causes or sources of the chronic pain if possible. We’ll use diagnostic imaging and testing,” Dr. Leizman explains. “Then we’ll direct treatment at the sources.”
A wide range of non-surgical solutions is available to halt a seemingly endless cycle of pain. Examples include:
- Exercise therapy
- Special injection techniques
When teamwork is needed
For more complex cases, a team of specialists will deliver the best results. Specialized doctors, physical therapists and pain psychologists can collaborate to bring you relief, and to help you and your family cope with pain in more positive ways.
The bottom line is: Don’t wait to seek help for chronic pain. Experts are available to relieve your discomfort and restore you to health.