OakLeaf Medical Network Healthy Viewpoints, Winter 2003
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Mark Schlimgen, MD

Pain Management, Early Evaluation
Brings Results

Mark Schlimgen, MD, Pain Clinic of Northwestern Wisconsin

According to the American Chronic Pain Association, about 86 million Americans suffer from some type of chronic pain. Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Pain can be categorized into two areas: acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain includes pain that is experienced after tissue damage (i.e., injury, surgery) and goes away within the normal recovery time, usually 6 months. Chronic pain, however, is pain that persists beyond the normal healing time or is associated with a painful chronic condition. Many of us, a family member or friend suffers from chronic pain caused by such problems as degeneration of the spine, ruptured discs, myofascial syndrome, and cancer. We know first hand that a chronic pain condition may be hard to describe and often harder to understand by those who are associated with the person suffering.

Chronic pain impacts more than the patient

  • Pain often affects or restricts the physical activity of the pain sufferer
  • Pain can cause frustration for the patient and those around them as they search for ways to treat and or relieve the pain
  • Pain may reduce the personís quality of life, taking an emotional toll on the patient. It may cause depression and also affects family, friends and those in the patientís workplace
  • Pain may have a serious financial impact on the patient, who may be unable to continue working
  • Pain has a significant national economic impact. Some estimate that U.S. business and industry losses may be as much as $90 billion annually in sick time, reduced productivity, and direct medical and other benefit costs due to chronic pain among employees

What can be done to treat this problem of Chronic Pain?

Often patients suffer for years with pain and may be contemplating surgery or increased medications. Pain Management was thought of as a last chance treatment. Today, physicians are seeking out Pain Management treatment as an early approach in helping a patient to have reduced pain and a greatly improved quality of life. Pain Management focuses on assessment, treatment, consultation and ongoing monitoring of a patientís progress. Pain therapy can be utilized to:

  • Provide relief or reduce pain
  • Increase function both socially and in the work place
  • Restore dignity and improve the patientís overall quality of life

Highly skilled pain management specialists, often board certified in both Anesthesiology and Pain Management, work closely with the patient, the family physician and other health care professionals and take a multidisciplinary approach to pain with the services they offer to their patients through:

  • Physical therapy
  • Injection therapy
  • Medication management
  • Counseling
  • State-of-the-art technology

If you or someone you know is suffering from pain, please discuss the possibility of a Pain Management evaluation with your primary care physician. There are options available for improving your quality of life.

For more information, call Pain Clinic of Northwestern Wisconsin: 715.552.5346 / 888.235.7246