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To regain control of your life, it is important to learn how to cope with chronic pain. To do so, you many need a multidisciplinary approach to your chronic pain. While many people with pain have tried every available medical intervention without great success, sometimes these therapies are most effective when performed together in a controlled setting. A multidisciplinary pain program can provide you with the necessary skills, medical intervention, and direction to effectively cope with chronic pain.
Make sure you locate a legitimate program: Hospitals and rehabilitation centers are more likely to offer comprehensive treatment than are "stand alone" programs. Contact local health care facilities and rehabilitation centers and ask if they have pain management programs. If they do, have information sent to you.
Choose a good program that is convenient for you and your family: Many pain management programs do not offer inpatient care. Choosing a program close to your home will enable you to commute to the program each day.
The program should have a medical staff trained in pain management:
- Physician: neurologist, psychiatrist, physiatrist (PMR or Rehabilitation Medicine), or anesthesiologist
- Registered nurse
- Physical and Occupational Therapist
- Biofeedback therapist
- Family and Vocational counselor
Make sure the program includes or has access to most of the following features:
- Biofeedback training
- Occupational and Physical Therapy
- Relaxation training and stress management
- Group therapy and Family Counseling
- Regional anesthesia (nerve blocks)
- After care (follow-up support after program)
Be sure your family can be involved in your care: Family members should be required to be involved in your treatment. The program should provide special educational sessions for family members. Joint counseling for you and your family should also be available.
Also consider these additional factors:
- What service will your medical insurance reimburse and what will you be expected to cover?
- Is the program inpatient or outpatient?
- If you choose an out-of-town unit can family still help?
- Do you understand what will be required of you during your stay?
- Does the unit provide any type of job retraining?
- What is the program's length of stay?
Pain programs are difficult, but pain management can make a significant difference in your life. You must realize, however, that much of what you gain from your stay will be up to you.