A holistic approach to managing pain, with Dr. Ahsan Usmani
If you're dealing with pain - regardless of whether it's from a chronic condition like arthritis or from a more acute problem like a recent back injury - finding lasting relief is a priority. Interventional spine specialists can help you to relieve your pain using the latest techniques in pain medicine.
The most modern approaches to pain management treat you holistically by helping you to manage the pain while finding and solving the underlying cause. Reid Health's Dr. Ahsan Usmani is an expert in comprehensive pain management - and is here to help you explore and understand how to relieve your pain and get back to doing the things you love.
What is involved in helping patients manage pain?
"We focus on a comprehensive approach to pain medicine," says Dr. Usmani. "To us, that means combining pain-relieving measures like medical management, physical therapy, and even mental health therapy." By working to understand the underlying issues causing your pain, interventional spine specialists like Dr. Usmani can work with you to alleviate pain while healing its primary cause.
One benefit of this approach, he says, is a reduced reliance on opioid and narcotic pain relievers for long-term pain relief. This is a smart idea because opioids can be risky when used long-term. They can lead to dependence issues, have worrisome side effects, often become less effective over time, and do nothing to help solve the underlying causes of pain.
The good news, he says, is that "pain medication is not the only answer." Benefitting from the safest and most effective approaches to pain relief means looking beyond medication to a combination of approaches to treat you and your pain holistically.
Who is a candidate for comprehensive pain management?
Many people experiencing pain are candidates for comprehensive pain management approaches. Regardless of whether you've been experiencing pain for 20 minutes or 20 years, comprehensive pain management can help you to achieve a higher level of functionality.
"We look at how a patient functions in their life," Dr. Usmani says. "Are you able to walk one block today? How can we improve that with interventions?" The aim, he continues, is to make it possible for you to do more of the things you love doing.
Comprehensive pain management is often a great approach for those who are not candidates for surgery. "A lot of patients are chronic pain patients who have had spine, neck, or back pain for a long time, and are not candidates for surgery. We want to help manage those cases with interventions that improve your quality of life."
What treatments are in a pain management plan?
Interventional spine specialists often use a combination of two or more pain management techniques to help patients effectively manage pain. These approaches might include:
· Physical therapy,
· Nerve blocks for back, knee, or shoulder pain,
· Radio frequency ablation,
· Minimally invasive surgical techniques,
· Steroid injections,
· Pain medications,
· Peripheral nerve stimulation, or
· ESWT high energy sound wave (or STEM Wave) therapy.
How do I know what pain relief methods are best for me?
Working closely with your orthopedic doctor or interventional spine specialist to develop a plan is the best approach to receiving customized pain management care. Dr. Usmani says that your doctor will work first to understand your pain and learn about past treatments you've tried that have either helped or not helped.
From there, your doctor can order diagnostic tests (like an MRI or X-ray) if necessary and diagnose underlying conditions that contribute to your pain. Using a comprehensive pain management approach, they will then collaborate with other specialists like orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, or rheumatologists to develop a treatment plan.
Typically, your treatment plan will have a stepped approach - starting with the least invasive methods - that will allow you and your doctor to explore the best ways to manage your individual case.
It's important to understand that pain relief may not be instantaneous - especially if you have chronic pain. "Chronic pain is a chronic condition just like heart disease or hypertension is a chronic condition. These conditions don't happen overnight, and they can't be fixed overnight either. Just like treating a disease like hypertension is a process, long-term pain management is a process. Each step is a step towards feeling better."
"We are with you for the journey," Dr. Usmani says. "This might not be a quick fix - this is about long-term pain management, with the ultimate goal of improving your quality of life."
Pain interventions at Reid Health
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