Pain is the gift no one wants…More than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain at a cost of over $600 billion a year in medical treatments and lost productivity. About a third of the population is affected by chronic pain; more people than are affected by heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. Pain is the body's early warning system to alert us that something is wrong. When acute injury takes place, pain helps motivate a behavioral change to facilitate body healing; this is known as physiological pain. However, when pain persists for an extended period of time after tissue healing, it becomes chronic pain. Pain in itself can be considered a disease, not just a symptom of a disease. When pain fails to serve a protective function, it becomes a pathological pain. Arthritis causes the most common types of pathological pain.
Why do we need pain specialists and what can they do for us? Pain specialists first identify the type of pain (or pains) and then tailor the therapy accordingly. There is no "One Size Fits All" for the pain specialist. Most pain specialists will shy away from opioid medications to manage arthritis pain…But opioids work so well for pain control, so where does the need for caution arise? Opioids are, in fact, good medications…for the short term. When opioids are taken chronically, other negative factors emerge which may outweigh the benefit of pain control.
Join Dr. Mohab Ibrahim, director of the Banner - University Medical Center's Comprehensive Pain Management Clinic and the University of Arizona College of Medicine's Chronic Pain Fellowship program, for a detailed discussion of the causes of chronic pain and the current available treatments for arthritis and related joint pain, including the associated side effects. Dr. Ibrahim will present the latest conventional and alternative approaches to pain management while also highlighting the facts, fads and fiction associated with this complex medical issue.