Pain medicine is a medical discipline concerned with the prevention of pain, and the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of people in pain. At Ramsay Health Care UK our pain medicine specialists formulate comprehensive treatment plans to provide quality care to all patients suffering from pain.
Our pain medicine Consultants offer a range of interventions and pain management programmes that are designed to reduce pain and help patients return to a normal lifestyle. It’s important for pain specialists to understand fully the source of the pain to provide the best course of treatment and offer advice to help you to manage your pain. Pain management also allows patients to discover their own role in taking control of their pain.
For patients with debilitating pain symptoms, a pain medicine specialist can provide much needed relief and support. Whether you’re suffering from acute back and neck pain sustained in a car accident, or chronic pain due to a neurological condition or cancer, our compassionate specialists are expertly qualified to help manage your pain and improve your quality of life.
Many pains involve the musculoskeletal or nervous system. Our pain specialists work closely with consultant neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists, psychologists and occupational therapists.
The interventional pain management therapies we offer include: image-guided spinal injection therapies including epidurals, radiofrequency denervation or ablation, spinal cord stimulator, ultrasound guided nerve blocks and facet joint injections.
What is pain?
Pain is an unpleasant sensation that can be dull or sharp, burning or numbing, acute or chronic and a minor inconvenience or completely disabling. Generally, medications try either to stop the transmission of pain from the site of injury or to affect the brain directly. The tolerance of pain varies greatly from one person to another and so do the effects of pain medications. Pain can have negative effects on mobility and function, emotional well-being, quality of life, and overall recovery.
Types of pain
There are two main types of pain:
Acute pain starts suddenly, has a clear cause and is short-term. It can result from any illness, trauma, surgery or any painful medical procedures. Examples of acute pain include: the pain of a heart attack, acute appendicitis, bone fracture, muscle sprain and prolapsed intervertebral disc of the spine. Acute pain indicates an underlying problem and the treatment of this problem will relieve the pain.
The drugs that can help acute pain are: painkillers such as paracetamol, anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen and other drugs like codeine and in severe cases morphine.
Chronic pain is felt over a longer period of time of three months or more. If you experience pain for a long time it can lead to anxiety, low mood and tiredness. Emotional distress and lack of sleep can increase the pain. Pain can prevent you from working or taking part in usual recreational activities.
Pain management of chronic pain combines physical, emotional, intellectual and social skills to lessen the suffering.
Chronic pain can be neuropathic or nociceptive.
Neuropathic pain is complex and caused by structural or functional damage in the nervous system. The pain can be debilitating or come and go.
Nociceptive pain is pain from damage to tissues. It’s called somatic pain if it results from injury to your muscles, tendons and ligaments. It’s called visceral pain if it’s caused due to injury of the internal organs like your stomach, gall bladder and urinary bladder.
Common pain conditions
Spinal and neck pain, thoracic pain and low back pain
This is the most common and troublesome pain. Pain treatment options include: facet nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablation, intra-discal ablation procedures, spinal cord stimulator, minimally invasive lumbar decompression, minimally invasive disc decompression, intra-spinal drug delivery, osteopathic manipulation and alternative medicines.
Headache and facial pain
Headaches can be brought on by many triggers such as stress, posture, hormones, tiredness, diet, climate changes. Your pain management specialist will determine the type of headache: tension, migraine, cluster or cervicogenic.
Pain treatments include: prescription medication, psychotherapy, stress reduction, neuroblock techniques, radiofrequency ablation, the implant of peripheral nerve stimulators and alternative medicine.
Pain and ageing
Treating and managing the pain that older adults routinely experience is becoming ever more important. Medications, physical therapy and psychological therapy may help manage an elderly person’s pain.
This is experienced if you have a serious illness such as cancer, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or kidney disease. Pain is one of the most common symptoms to plague cancer and pain management is important in treating the discomfort of the severely ill patient.
Vascular pain develops when there is an interruption in blood flow to a tissue, organ or nerves. Doctors that specialise in pain management can sometimes help with the pain if the other treatments don’t work. In selected cases pain management nerve blocks and techniques such as spinal cord stimulation can reduce pain and improve circulation.
Nerve / neuropathic pain
This type of pain cannot be treated but the aim is to reduce the pain as much as possible help patients manage the pain. Medications, nerve blocks, pulsed radiofrequency techniques, spinal cord stimulators and TENs (electrotherapy) may be used.
Pelvic and abdominal pain
Pelvic pain can be sudden and unexpected or persistent or recurrent. Pain relief in the form of local or spinal injections of numbing agents or corticosteroids may be recommended by pain management physicians.
Post-surgical and post traumatic pain
The pain management for post-surgical or post trauma patients can be varied will be dependent upon the surgery and trauma the patient has undergone.
Pain secondary to shingles
There is no cure for shingles, but pain medication treatments for the condition can help ease the associated pain and discomfort.