Chronic Pain Management
Georgia Pain Doctors of chronic pain often calls for the adoption of Interdisciplinary Pain Management Programs (IPMP). These are programs whose aim is to help chronic pain sufferers work actively to regain control of their lives despite the pain. IPMP are holistic in nature, focusing on the total individual, not just a person’s painful symptoms.
IPMP are composed of a team of healers and health care providers who provide one-on-one interactions with suffering patients. They seek to measure the extent of the pain, intervene into the non-helpful aspects of patients’ life-styles, and strategize ways for patients to help themselves. IPMP provides a full program of assessment, treatment, communication, education, and follow-up. These treatments are aimed at the entire individual – his or her mental state, emotional resources, and support system – rather than just the physical pain. Team members include doctors and nurses, physical therapists, recreational therapists, pharmacists, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, nutritionists and dieticians, vocational counselors, and of course the family and friends of the patient.
While the membership of any one team will vary for each patient, a physician is usually the primary provider for the team. A physician at a medical pain clinic is very likely to participate in IPMP due to his/her special training and expertise in treating pain. Each team member stresses the role of the patient in taking control of his/her life through appreciating the benefits of a well-balanced approach to treatment. It is the blend of responsibilities assigned to each team member that, when integrated properly, allow the patient to make progress. A comfortable and reassuring setting, such as a pain clinic, provides the environmental cues so important to a patient’s frame of mind.
It is important that all IPMP members have the same beliefs and goals toward a patient, who after all is the center (along with his/her family) of the program. Each team member agrees to cooperate with others on the team to develop individual treatment plans in an atmosphere that is conducive to mutual respect and open communication. This requires frequent communication between team members and the primary provider, and allows for frequent updates to the program to reflect a patient’s progress towards achieving goals. Feedback is encouraged so that the patient and the team members are all on the same page in terms of progress and performance. It is vital that formal follow-ups are scheduled and that patients attend all scheduled meetings. In this way, a patient working with an IPMP has the best chance of successfully managing and reducing chronic pain.