In the past several years, a number of small and large incremental advances have been made in the sphere of pain management. Greater understanding about the molecular mechanism underlying the symptoms of acute and chronic pain have assisted researchers in developing targeted therapies to treat such conditions.
The conventional medications used for pain treatment included NSAID’s, muscle relaxants and steroid injections. However, a new era of pain management drugs has just begun. An insight into the neurotransmitter system has equipped scientists with the knowledge to manipulate these chemical messengers in a way that alleviates the sensation of pain. This has led to the use of antidepressants and other drugs that modulate the brain’s perception of pain for pain management.
MRI imaging of patients’ brain has shown clear evidence of the areas of the brain activated by pain stimulus. There is also a new understanding of what is referred to as the ‘central sensitization process’ which explains how an untreated painful condition could lead to changes in the central nervous system rendering it more sensitive over time.
The new advances in knowledge helps pain specialists like the Las Vegas pain management doctors to treat pain from different angles (Meet The Doctors). Innovative drugs which target specific molecular pathways, drug pumps that deliver painkillers effectively to the target nerve endings, receptor blockers, etc., are revolutionizing the way both acute and chronic pain is managed. The establishment of the mind-body connection through extensive research in this field has also led to the adoption of psychotherapy and alternative treatment procedures that provides relief from psychotic and chronic pain.
New advances in pain management strategies also include the use of cutting edge technology by Las Vegas pain management doctors to deliver the medications to the target area as well as physical procedures for alleviation of pain. In radio frequency ablation, a small portion of the nerve tissue in the affected area is heated to reduce the sensitization to pain. The TENS therapy uses low level electric currents to numb the nerves while pain pacemakers are built on similar principles and are implanted inside the body to block pain stimulations.
The advances in new drugs and technologies to treat pain has left pain management doctors with a wide array of choices. Despite this fact, deciding on a pain management schedule for treatment is not easily applicable because of the lack of consensus in the medical fraternity and the clinical and liability risks associated with such processes. The primary reason of lack of consensus is the high variation in the demands of patients with some seeking medical assistance for every ache and pain. Stubborn patients leads to doctors complying to their demands while others tend to adopt a more conservative approach to treat pain. The latter may end up being criticized by the patients who feel their needs are not properly addressed. Because of these reasons, pain treatment protocols greatly vary and lacks uniformity. Accidental deaths caused by improper use of prescription pain killers is a reality and doctors are often influenced by such factors while selecting pain treatment protocols. All these factors pose significant challenges in pain management strategies where external forces often prevail over a medical judgement by the doctor.