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It's likely that in the past few years you've heard a lot about the opioid crisis. Opioid use has had an unprecedented impact, even being responsible for a decreased average American life expectancy, and many medical professionals and services have taken steps to reduce prescriptions for pain relievers. Pain management programs have adapted in response, by adopting a diverse set of strategies for addressing both acute and chronic pain. Every patient's experience with pain is different, but below you'll find an overview of how it's classified and the different forms managing it can take.
Managing pain first starts with understanding what type it is. Loosely speaking, pain is traditionally divided up into two categories:
Pain of recent onset, that is short-term and typically from an identifiable cause.
Also called persistent pain, this is an ongoing or recurrent pain that lasts beyond the usual course of illness or healing from injury. This pain is often classified as lasting more than 3 to 6 months, as well as adversely affecting the patient's well-being.
Chronic pain is also defined as, simply, pain that continues when it should not. It is classified even further:
Pain intervention takes many forms, as well.
Treatments delivered by a physician or therapist that require no active participation by the patient. Examples include:
Treatments that require the patient to exert energy as part of the process. This typically involves interaction with a doctor or therapist. Examples include:
This can include anything a patient can carry out independently beyond an initial period of instruction. Self-directed intervention can range include many different techniques and approaches to improving your own quality of life. These may include:
This is a holistic approach to pain management with a goal of improving or restoring a patient's enjoyment of and engagement with their own life. This approaches not only the pain and its source, but related psychological and social aspects of managing pain and physical function. These can include: