DR. DONALD E. JONES, MD
Pain Medicine of the South is devoted to helping patients accurately identify and manage chronic pain. By combining traditional, and leading-edge pain-management techniques, Pain Medicine of the South endeavors to provide efficient, effective and compassionate pain management for a broad range of ailments and pain syndromes.
A pain management specialist is a physician with special training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain. Pain is actually a wide spectrum of disorders including acute pain, chronic pain and cancer pain and sometimes a combination of these. Pain can also arise for many different reasons such as surgery, injury, nerve damage, and metabolic problems such as diabetes. Occasionally, pain can even be the problem all by itself, without any obvious cause at all. ASRA.com
Most of the time pain goes away after an injury heals. However, if pain persists more than a month or two, it can become chronic pain. Sometimes pain becomes chronic because the underlying problem does not heal. For instance, arthritis causes long term inflammation and damage to the joints, and it may hurt as long as the inflammation lasts. Unfortunately, chronic pain may also occur despite healing and with no obvious injury to tissues. This may be the result of damage to the nerves that transmit pain (neuropathic pain), but chronic pain also affects the entire nervous system, sometimes in a permanent way. When any type of pain lasts a long time there can be changes in the spinal cord and the brain that change how we perceive painful sensations.
The most important consideration in looking for a pain management specialist is to find someone who has the training and experience to help you with your particular pain problem and with whom you feel a comfortable rapport. Since many types of chronic pain may require a complex treatment plan as well as specialized interventional techniques, pain specialists today must have more training than in the past, and you should learn about how your pain physician was trained and whether he or she has board certification in pain management.
We usually think of pain in terms of an injury or inflammation. This pain can serve a useful purpose, because when we are hurt we also protect ourselves to allow healing and to prevent further injury. Neuropathic pain, on the other hand, has no benefit. It occurs because of abnormal function of the nervous system. This includes a wide variety of disorders affecting any part of the nervous system from the brain to the spinal cord to the smallest nerves in the toes. In some cases, pain sensation fibers send a signal even if there is no painful stimulus. In other cases, sensory signals get crossed and “misread” as pain. A stroke can leave a patient unable to process sensation properly. And sometimes, the parts of our nervous system that help us manage pain stop working.
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