It Takes a Village to Manage Chronic Pain

Dear Readers,

An idea just came to mind that I thought might be worth sharing with you. Have you heard the saying: “It takes a village to raise a child?” Well, I think the same concept applies to successful management of chronic pain. By the time your pain condition has changed from acute (imminent, only has been around for less than 6 months) to chronic, then you probably need as many disciplines as is necessary to manage the pain effectively.

We used to think that the pain physician was the only source to receive help for pain management. However, over time we learned that physical therapy and psychotherapy are the other two important components of successful pain management. Some people also incorporate acupuncture as a very helpful adjunct to the trio mentioned above. Also, for those people who have ended up taking large doses of narcotics or other pain meds and are now finding that the meds are not really helping them as much, then what might be needed is a successful game plan of how to titrate off of those meds or at least reduce them back to a therapeutic dose. In these cases, a pharmacist’s expertise might be super helpful, where they begin a titration program to easily and gradually wean you off of those meds without too much trouble with withdrawal symptoms.

So, while “raising the child in a single parent home as opposed to with the help of the village” is possible, but often people find it very frustrating and in fact sometimes unsuccessful when only relying on their physician to manage their chronic pain.

The other question that forms in some people’s minds is which discipline helped them the most. Was it the new meds their physician prescribed, was it the new movements they got into at physical therapy that eased their muscle tension, or was it the cognitive changes brought about at psychotherapy which helped reduce their anxiety and depression that helped them get back on their feet? And the answer to that question my friends would be: “ALL OF THE ABOVE.”

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This service is provided by Dr. Katie Dashtban, Psy.D.

Katie defines her role as a psychologist as one who holds a guiding light, while her patients choose the turns in this maze we call life. In her practice, Katie refrains from offering advice, but instead helps her patients overcome obstacles that cause emotional suffering, and shows them tools to use when deciding on the desired changes in their lives.