Through a pain management plan, healthcare providers help people manage all kinds of pain. Pain management approaches include medications, injections, therapy and exercise. Your provider may recommend one approach or a combination of several. Pain management plans help people with chronic (long-lasting) pain feel better and improve their quality of life.
Everyone feels some kind of pain from time to time. Pain is the most common symptom of potentially thousands of injuries, diseases, disorders and conditions you can experience in your lifetime. It can also result from treatments for conditions and diseases. Pain can last a short time and go away when you heal (acute pain). Or it can also last for months or years (chronic pain).
Pain management specialists help you regulate pain with medications, procedures, exercises and therapy. To reduce or relieve pain, your provider may recommend one approach or a combination of several. You may receive care in a pain clinic, provider’s office or hospital.
Depending on the cause and type of pain, it may not be possible to find total relief, and the pain may not get better right away. Your provider will work with you to adjust your pain management plan so you can feel better.
Anyone with pain can benefit from a pain management plan. A comprehensive plan can help people manage pain that lasts a few days (such as after an injury or surgery). It can also help people who have long-term pain from disease or chronic health conditions.
Pain is the main symptom of a wide range of injuries, infections and diseases. Cancer pain can result from nearly every type of cancer. One of the first signs of a heart attack is often chest pain that may move to your arms, back or jaw. Some of the most common conditions that cause pain include:
Some types of pain result from a disease or accident. Other pain may linger or come back after treatment. Sometimes, pain results from treatments (such as pain after surgery). Some pain has no known cause. The types of pain include:
The first step in managing pain is finding out what’s causing it. Your provider will ask you when and where you feel pain and if it gets better (or worse) with certain activities. Tell your provider if it stays in one place or moves (radiates) to other parts of your body.
Your provider will also ask how the pain feels. Sometimes, providers ask you to rate your pain on a scale from 0 to 10 (pain scale). Depending on the cause, location and severity of the pain, you may describe it as:
There are many ways to manage different types of pain. You may have a team of pain management specialists (pain management doctors) who work together to help you manage long-term or severe pain. These specialists work in a field of medicine called algiatry.
Your provider may recommend one approach or a combination of several pain management techniques. These may include:
A comprehensive pain management plan can help you feel better physically and mentally. Although it isn’t always possible to find total relief from pain, you may be able to reduce pain or learn to respond to it in a different way. Many people with chronic pain enjoy a better quality of life with a pain management program.
Different pain management approaches have their own complications. Talk to your provider about medication side effects and the complications from injections, hands-on treatments or other procedures.
Depending on cause of pain and the treatments you receive, it may take a while for you to feel better. Pain might not go away completely. Your pain management plan is more likely to be effective if you work closely with your provider and adjust the plan as your needs change.
See your provider if:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Living with pain can be extremely challenging, both physically and mentally. If you’re in pain, talk to your provider about a personalized pain management plan. Be open and honest with your provider about when you feel pain and what makes it better or worse. Tell your provider if you feel depressed or anxious. If pain doesn’t get better or comes back after treatment, talk to your provider. You may need to adjust your pain management plan to help you feel better.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/15/2021.
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