5 Myths About Chronic Pain
1. Pain management is meant only as a last resort for treating chronic problems when everything else fails.
This is the number one myth of pain management. As with all medicine, prevention is the key. However, when pain does occur, the best chance of alleviating pain permanently is to address it early on and aggressively. This not only allows you to return to your normal activities pain free, but also prevents your pain from becoming a chronic problem. In addition, studies suggest that in cancer patients, who receive treatment for their pain during the end of life, better pain control increases not only the quality of life, but can also increase the life expectancy.
2. If I go to a pain clinic, the only thing they are going to do is give me narcotics.
This is a common misconception in the field of pain management. Though it is true that some pain clinics only treat pain by writing opioids and medications, here at Virginia Interventional Pain & Spine Center we focus on diagnosing the source of your pain. By doing so, we can develop a treatment plan targeted specifically at your pain generator, giving you pain relief without the need for opioids or other medications. These medications can have serious side effects when taken chronically. Though we understand that medications can play a role in managing your pain, we attempt to minimize medication usage by focusing on other modalities to treat your pain. As such, we can maximize your pain control without the use of chronic pills that can be harmful to your kidneys and liver long term.
3. It takes forever to see a specialist. If I’m in pain now, my only option is to go to the ER/urgent care or to see my primary care provider.
Depending on the type of insurance you have, you may need to have a referral from another provider before seeing a specialist. However, in most instances, you do NOT need a referral to be seen at Virginia Interventional Pain and Spine Center. It is best to call our office to determine whether or not a referral is necessary. If your low back pain is new, we can typically see you within 24-48 hours. We understand that life is hard enough as it is. There is no reason for you to continue to suffer in pain. We are your urgent care for low back pain.
4. I need to see a spine surgeon for my back problems not a pain specialist.
After your teenage years, many people begin to have degenerated, bulging discs and arthritis in the spine. The good news is that despite these changes occurring in your spine, most of the time, it does not cause any pain. However, what happens when you start having low back and/or neck pain? Once again, the good news is that the vast majority of cases do not need surgery, especially early on during the course of your pain. We have realized that most cases will resolve with conservative therapies, but they have a better chance of resolving your pain if therapies are started early in the course of your pain. This even includes cases where you have herniated disc and even disc fragments that are pinching nerves in your low back or neck. There are very specific criteria where surgery is necessary on an acute basis, but luckily this is few and far between. At Virginia Interventional Pain & Spine, we can treat your acute pain, allowing you to get back to life as soon as possible. We are your spine pain specialists. We also know when is the appropriate time for further diagnostic studies and can direct you to the appropriate providers to take care of your pain quickly and appropriately.
5. Pain is a normal process of aging.
As we age, pain does become more a prevalent problem. This does not mean we must live with the pain. When pain begins to persist beyond several weeks, consider seeking an evaluation by a pain specialist. Realizing that the best treatment outcomes occur when pain is addressed early, it is recommended to not just “grin and bear it,” but to seek professional care, so that your current pain does not turn into a lifelong problem. At Virginia Interventional Pain & Spine Center we offer treatment options that can help alleviate pain by at least 50% without needing to take medications. Aging does not have to be a painful process.