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The Pain Clinic Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between chronic pain and acute pain?

Acute pain lasts only a short time, and is often related to an injury or illness. Acute pain should lessen naturally during the healing process.

Chronic pain, however, is an ongoing condition. Many people experience chronic pain in the neck, back or head. Chronic pain can also be caused by nerve damage, musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, or illness. Typically, the treatments that work for acute pain are not effective against chronic pain. The Pain Clinic staff develop individually-tailored treatment plans for each patient to best manage their long-term condition.

For many, chronic pain is a part of daily life. At The Pain Clinic, we understand the unique needs of pain patients. We'll work with you, your primary care physician, and other appropriate support staff to help you reduce and manage your chronic pain.

What are the most common problems that result in chronic pain?

The Pain Clinic sees a wide range of chronic pain patients. The following are the most common reasons patients seek treatment at The Pain Clinic:

  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Muscle Pain (Myalgia)
  • Nerve Pain
  • Headaches
  • Postherpetic Neuralgia (Shingles)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Leg Pain
  • Arm Pain
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • What is Pain Management?

    Chronic pain is a complex medical problem that can affect all areas of your life. The purpose of pain management is to help minimize your pain, and return you to your highest possible level of function and quality of life.

    Can The Pain Clinic help me?

    The Pain Clinic at Sturdy Memorial offers various treatments for a wide range of pain sufferers. If you live with chronic pain, you might benefit from our services. Discuss pain management options with your primary care physician. For more information on our services, please contact The Pain Clinic at 508-236-8336.

    Why is The Pain Clinic staffed by Anesthesiologists?

    Many people view anesthesiologists as the doctors who put people "to sleep" during operations. While that's part of their role, anesthesiologists are actually present throughout surgical procedures to relieve pain and monitor vital body functions.

    Today, anesthesiologists learn pain management techniques as part of their medical residency. Some, like The Pain Clinic's Director, Dr. Do Chan, also receive additional highly-specialized pain management training. Together with a team of skilled nurses and aides, anesthesiologists in The Pain Clinic offer the best in pain management planning and treatment.

    Can doctors at The Pain Clinic find the cause of my pain?

    Pain specialists are skilled at treating pain, but their expertise also enables them to diagnose its cause. By performing a physical examination, taking your medical history and examining applicable test results, our pain management physicians can help pinpoint the cause of your chronic pain, and develop a treatment plan.

    What treatments does The Pain Clinic offer?

    The Pain Clinic offers procedural-based and collaborative services. That means we offer unique outpatient pain management therapies at The Pain Clinic, and work cooperatively with your primary care physician and other support staff to address your specific medication and rehabilitation issues.

    Some procedures offered at The Pain Clinic include:

    • Injection treatments: Local anesthetics, with or without cortisone-like medicines, can be injected in or around nerves or into joints. These may act to reduce swelling, irritation, muscle spasms or abnormal nerve transmission that can cause pain.
    • Electrical stimulation: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is the most common form of electrical stimulation. It is not painful, and does not require needles. During TENS, a small battery-operated device is used to stimulate nerve fibers through the skin to reduce pain. In some cases, electrical stimulation of acupuncture points is also performed.
    • Surgical intervention: The Pain Clinic offers a wide range of outpatient surgical procedures to treat various conditions.
    • Acupuncture: The Pain Clinic has a certified acupuncturist on staff for patients who may benefit from this treatment.
    • Botox: Botox isn't just for wrinkles. At The Pain Clinic, we use Botox injections to treat headaches and torticolis (stiff neck).

    The Pain Clinic's staff will work collaboratively with:

    • Your Primary Care Physician: Instead of prescribing medication at The Pain Clinic, we work with your own physician to tailor the type, dosage and frequency of your medication. This reduces confusion and prevents medication conflicts, while keeping your whole care team "on the same page".
    • Physical Therapists: Some patients benefit from various forms of physical therapy. In many cases, increasing core strength can reduce strain on the back and other sore muscles. Learning better body mechanics can lessen your chance of aggravating certain conditions. For those with limited mobility or intense pain, Sturdy Memorial's Physical Therapy Department offers Aquatherapy, a very low-impact method of stretching and strengthening muscle.
    • Medical Specialists: If your pain results from a chronic medical condition, such as Multiple Sclerosis, you may be referred to a specialist in that area for additional consultation and support.
    • Additional Support Staff: Chronic pain is a complex medical condition that can have emotional, psychological and social consequences. The Pain Clinic's pain management experts are connected to a network of pain psychologists, pain therapists and other specialists who can help you cope.

    Will I be unconscious during treatment?

    Most procedures performed in The Pain Clinic are quick, relatively painless, and require only local anesthesia. Your pain management physician will discuss each step in the procedure, including the anesthetics you'll receive and any necessary fasting or preparation, prior to your treatment. In certain circumstances, intravenous conscious sedation may be offered.

    Can The Pain Clinic's services lead to addiction?

    No. As a procedural-based and collaborative consultation service, we offer non-habit-forming treatments and medication recommendations. If you have concerns about medication dependence, feel free to speak with your primary care physician and your pain management specialist.