Luigi Franciosi Explains How a Pain Specialist Diagnoses and Treats Chronic Pain Issues
Chronic pain can be tricky, and that’s why many need a pain specialist to help them. Dr. Luigi Franciosi, a pharmacologist at The University of British Columbia who has studied pain in animals and humans, suggests that patients should consider carefully all the ways that chronic pain is diagnosed and treated. Pain specialists are uniquely equipped to address these questions.
What is a Pain Specialist?
A physician that focuses on helping patients identify and treat chronic pain is known as a pain specialist. Sometimes, an illness or condition causes chronic pain, while other times, it is something of a mystery why the pain is there in the first place. Regardless of the reason though, chronic pain can be difficult to manage and cause other issues.
Dr. Luigi Franciosi has seen pain specialists take different approaches, including physical therapy, stress management, psychology/psychiatry, neurology, and medication. Most pain specialists use a combination of the approaches listed above based upon their patient’s needs.
Where Does Chronic Pain Come From?
Any pain that lasts more than three months is considered chronic pain. The pain needn’t be constant, as many people suffering from chronic pain feel it increase and subside as they attempt to go about their lives. The nature of the pain also varies, from sharp pain to tingling and burning. Pain is pain, and the one enduring that pain knows when they are in pain. Chronic pain will be slightly different for everyone who experiences it.
Among the most common causes of chronic pain are cancer, stress, arthritis, or nerve damage. These causes can be related to an accident or might surface slowly over time. Other medical conditions such as TMJ, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue also cause chronic pain.
Pain that has no apparent cause is known as psychogenic pain. This form of chronic pain is tricky, since physicians often have to attempt different tests and treatments in order to find out if there is a clear, root cause for the pain.
Can a Pain Specialist Get Rid of Chronic Pain Altogether?
That depends on both the chronic pain and the patient. In some cases, pain specialists can diagnose and treat the root cause so that the pain disappears. Other times, these specialists can help the patient make a few life changes that might eliminate the pain. Still in many cases, people must live with their chronic pain and only learn how to manage the effects.
There are a few universal tricks that help nearly everyone manage the pain. Learning how to reduce stress through lifestyle adjustments and mindfulness exercises often seriously reduces one’s pain level. Also, changing one’s diet can have a drastic effect on one’s pain. Those that regularly consume caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and nicotine are actually making their chronic pain worse.
When a pain specialist first meets a new patient, they generally order a CAT scan and/or an MRI. They will want to investigate the source of one’s pain and what treatments the patient used in the past. If one is lucky, the specialist will be able to identify the source of the pain right away and address the problem.
Luigi Franciosi concludes that to get the most out of their appointments, patients must be willing to open up to their physician and accept feedback and advice. The best patients are the ones that learn to trust their pain specialists as he/she attempts a variety of techniques and tests before arriving at an effective solution.