Pain is a universal experience, and one of the leading reasons patients visit a doctor. But what happens when this natural response to injury lasts too long? According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 76.2 million, one in every four Americans, have suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours. And chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability.

In the last few years, pain issues have gained national attention due to their influence in a nationwide addiction crisis. Addiction, however, is a medical issue that - while sharing similarities with pain - can develop independently from a pain issue. And it is a very serious health matter. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 million Americans aged 12 and older battled a substance use disorder in 2017. Drug abuse and addiction cost more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs. More importantly, they negatively affect patients and their friends and family.

We believe addressing these issues is a necessary part of healthcare. That’s why Dayalan and Associates Family Medicine - a division of Genesis Medical Associates - is a NCQA-recognized Level-3 Patient Centered Medical Home that can address pain and addiction issues (in addition to traditional Primary Care services). Our practice provides complete medical management for all of our patients, serving as a home base to manage every aspect of communication between caregivers while providing a secure patient-portal for access to medical records.

 

FAQs on Pain & Addiction Management Services:

Why is it So Difficult to Treat Pain?

One reason pain is difficult to treat is that it’s a natural response to our environment. We need to feel pain; it tells us when we are injured. Because of this, it’s impossible to “turn off” our pain responses. Pain can also arise for many different reasons, including surgery, injury, nerve damage, and metabolic problems such as diabetes. So it’s difficult to avoid and prevent pain entirely.

Most importantly, pain is difficult to treat because it isn’t just a physical sensation. Pain has biological, psychological, and emotional factors. So treating the physical aspects of pain alone - i.e. the traditional approach to treatment - is inefficient. Fortunately, a pain management specialist (with special training evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain) can overcome this limitation and be of great assistance to chronic sufferers.

What Should I Know About Your Pain Management Services?

Pain management services at Genesis Medical Associates, Inc. are provided by our experts and specialists in chronic pain management. Our management solutions are then applied through combinations of medical therapies and maintenance techniques (i.e. medication, physical therapy, etc.). 

The exact approaches used for each patient will always depend on the needs of the individuals in our care - i.e. we will prioritize treatments that work, rather than forcing those that do not. We will also offer advice and feedback on your routine, habits, and support networks, all of which can affect your responses to long-term pain.

Examples of specific potential care approaches and management services include the following:

  • Trigger-point injections. Trigger point injection (TPI) is a procedure used to treat aching areas of muscle that contain trigger points, i.e. knots of muscle that do not relax. Trigger points may pull on surrounding tissues or irritate the nerves around them, causing pain at the source of the knotting and the areas surrounding it. A TPI procedure can address these trigger points via an injection containing a local anesthetic, saline, and (sometimes) corticosteroid.
  • Interventional pain management on an outpatient basis. Interventional pain management is an emerging medical option for patients who struggle with chronic pain. The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) defines this care method as a "discipline of medicine devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of pain related disorders." Doctors working in interventional pain management strive to relieve, reduce, and/or manage pain and improve a patient's overall quality of life through proper diagnosis. They also offer a full range of minimally invasive treatment techniques and services for patients suffering from pain. The use of medications is minimal in this type of care.
  • Counseling and education regarding pain management and pain-related issues. Psychosocial factors (including stress) can make it harder to address a patient's pain. Worse, when these factors make a pain problem worse, people may develop emotional distress as a result of their chronic pain (i.e. "I'm not crazy! The pain is real!"). This type of pain management complication is very real, and is one we want to help our patients address. We do so via the use of supplemental counseling and education. These services can help sufferers address their emotional responses to chronic pain in a healthy way (i.e. addressing their body’s natural responses to stress and other factors, and channeling those responses into constructive behaviors). Ultimately, by understanding and managing the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that accompany the discomfort, patients can begin to cope with their ailment more effectively — and may feel relief from their pain.
  • Physical therapy. Physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids (and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for the management of multiple types of pain. Physical therapy can be beneficial to some patients, as the hands-on care, prescribed exercises, and educational aspects involved may be beneficial in addressing some pain sources. Low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and joint issues are examples of pain that respond well to physical therapy.

What Should I Know About Your Addiction Services?

One of our most important services in addiction treatment is counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, and other types of therapy are cornerstones in addiction recovery. This is because addiction is more than physical dependence. Even after the body is no longer "hooked" on a substance, psychological and social factors can potentially lead an individual into relapse. These factors may include stress, environmental cues, and even social networks. Counseling, however, helps individuals address their potential triggers in a healthy manner, thereby minimizing their risk of relapse.